With Trump's travel ban still in flux, these lawyers created a brilliant way to help.

When President Trump passed an executive order temporarily banning travelers from "terror-prone" countries, Seattle attorney Takao Yamada hurried to the airport.

He was one of the first lawyers on the scene to lend a helping hand to innocent people who might be affected by the order.

"It was chaos," Yamada says. Families waiting on loved ones, panicked. Not knowing if they were stuck in extensive interviews, being sent home, or worse.


No one knew what exactly the order meant or how it was being enforced.

All the disorder made it hard to really help anyone, Yamada says. Without knowing who was coming into the country, where they were coming from, and which kinds of papers they had, well-meaning attorneys were left scrambling.

Photo by Konrad Fiedler/AFP/Getty Images

Yamada got together with some fellow attorneys and had an idea: What if there was a way for us to get all of that information ahead of time?

Any good lawyer knows they're a lot more effective with the proper preparation.

Yamada along with co-founders Greg McLawsen and Tahminda Watson, worked with some software developers to (quickly) create an app.

The app "Airport Lawyer" connects travelers coming into the U.S. with volunteer attorneys who can help them navigate U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

AirportLawyer.org

Using a nationwide network of thousands of volunteers — Yamada said there are hundreds of attorneys in Seattle alone willing to help, free of charge — travelers from abroad can arrange to have a lawyer meet them at the airport when they land.

Sometimes, the lawyers will be prepared with extra papers and documentation to avoid any holdups at Customs and Border Protection. Other times, they'll simply be a calm, informed presence that can keep tabs on the process and communicate with U.S. family members.

Though a federal court temporarily struck down Donald Trump's travel ban, the administration is fighting back. Yamada expects more confusion and chaos as the chips continue to fall.

Here's how you and your loved ones can use Airport Lawyer to help ensure safe and fair travels.

Step 1. Go to AirportLawyer.org and click "Get help now for an arriving immigrant."

Provide as much information as you can on behalf of the traveler, including arrival date, airport, airline and flight number, visa type, and how the attorneys can get in touch with family members on the U.S. side.

Step 2. Once you do that, Airport Lawyer supervisors get notified of the arrival and match you with a volunteer attorney.

All the information is stored on a secure system, where the team will connect you with a volunteer lawyer near your airport (most of the big ones are covered, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.). If they can match you with an attorney, that person will reach out and help you come up with a plan for arrival.

Step 3. Stick it to Donald Trump.

Arrive safe. Clear Customs. Embrace your family. Show Donald Trump that his bigoted and unconstitutional policies won't stand without a fight.

"It's just been so amazing seeing how many people want to help," Yamada says.

He recalls witnessing many powerful reunions between long-lost relatives, made possible in large part by the hard work of thousands of whip-smart attorneys during their precious free time.

Yamada himself wears several professionals hats, along with volunteering. And, oh yeah, his wife is pregnant. But he makes the time because he knows this is important.

"Most people are just trying to get back here to see their family," he says. That's nothing something Donald Trump should be allowed to take away from us.

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Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

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Seeing someone who has a long record of sobriety—especially after a very public struggle—can be motivating and inspiring for others in different stages of their recovery journey. That's part of why actor Rob Lowe's announcement that he's reached 31 years sober is definitely something to celebrate.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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