The American Civil Liberties Union broke all its fundraising records this weekend as it became the main group challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions. The ACLU raised $24,164,691 this weekend from 356,306 online donations after Trump signed the order suspending the country’s refugee program and banning entry into the United States of citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The nonprofit organization usually raises $4 million a year from online donations, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Romero told Yahoo News earlier on Sunday when the number stood at $10 million. “People are fired up and want to be engaged. What we’ve seen is an unprecedented public reaction to the challenges of the Trump administration.”
The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were detained at the JFK Airport in New York that resulted in a federal judge blocking part of Trump’s order on Saturday night. The organization that vowed the day after the election to be “eternally vigilant” during Trump’s presidency has seen its membership double to 1 million members since Nov. 8.
"People understand the threats the Trump administration poses and they are willing to take action to fight those threats," Romero said. "They don't just want to write a check and be done with it."
The donations saw a huge boost thanks in part to some big headline-grabbing names supporting the ACLU’s efforts. Singer Sia, for example, wrote on Twitter that she would match up to $100,000 in donations. Rosie O’Donnell followed suit with the same pledge. The founders of ride-share company Lyft also said they would donate $1 million to the ACLU over the next four years.
Donations are bound to keep arriving. When Sarah Paulson won for outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or limited series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, she also called for donations to the ACLU. “Any money you have to spare, please donate to the ACLU,” she said. “It’s a vital organization that relies entirely on our support.”