The American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $24 million in donations since Saturday, the first full day on which an executive order signed by President Donald Trump barred refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country, the New York Times reports.
The executive order, signed just after 4:00 p.m. on Friday, suspends the entry of all refugees for a hundred and twenty days, bars refugees from Syria from entering the U.S. indefinitely, and prohibits citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the country for ninety days. As a result of the order, dozens of refugees who had been on airplanes when the order was signed were blocked from entering the country, detained for hours by customs officials, and taken off their planes.
According to the ACLU, about two-thirds of the more than 356,000 people who made a donation to the organization over the weekend were believed to be first-time supporters. The organization also said it gained between 150,000 and 200,000 new members; it had 400,000 members when Trump was elected in November. "Clearly, this executive order has hit a live nerve with the American people," Anthony D. Romero, the organization's executive director, told the Times.
The National Immigration Law Center, which joined the ACLU in a suit on behalf of two Iraqi refugees detained on Saturday, has raised $269,000 since the order was signed. It experienced a surge in individual donations after the election, enabling it to increase its annual budget in the months since from $55 million to $7.5 million. And the International Rescue Committee launched a $5 million campaign over the weekend — its first ever such campaign — designed to help it respond to the needs of refugees in the U.S.
The ACLU has been at the forefront of efforts to fight the Trump administration's immigration policies, however, and even before the executive order had received more than $47 million from four hundred thousand donors, the largest uptick in donations in its history. "This is the Trump effect," Romero told the Times. "Those four hundred thousand people who donated to us, I did not go after them; they came to us. In fact, our website crashed; we had so many donations, we could not handle it."