Immigrant Rights Groups File Class Action Suit Challenging Trump Administration's "Muslim Ban"

Kristopher Drake
March 15, 2017

California is challenging President Trump's second attempt to severely restrict travel into the US, on Monday joining an amended lawsuit - along with the states of Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and OR - that seeks to have parts of the March 6 executive order invalidated.

In a new complaint filed in U.S. District Court Monday, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked for a hearing with the judge based in Seattle on Tuesday, two days before the revised travel ban is scheduled to begin.

Ferguson said the state would ask Robart to rule that his temporary restraining order against the first ban applies to Trump's revised action.

"The Trump Administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim travel ban, but they didn't change its unconstitutional intent and effect", California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

In another legal challenge, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint on behalf of several refugee assistance groups over the controversial executive order.

A judge will hear arguments Wednesday, with the heavily Democratic state claiming the new order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students. Experts say those changes removed the most legally problematic parts of the original ban.

"California was joined in filing the amicus brief by Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia", the release adds.

"All of these individuals (and the institutions that wish to admit or hire them) are protected by this Court's injunction, but are nonetheless targeted and harmed by the second executive order".

The Hawaii case, meanwhile, names Ismail Elshikh, an imam with family in Syria, as a co-plaintiff.

"Hawaii does not identify any particular persons it seeks to recruit who have concrete plans to relocate to Hawaii and join a state university or agency - let alone any specific plans to do so in the next 90 days".

"We hope the Court will see through this shoddy cover for the President's long-standing desire to enact a Muslim ban and stop it from going into effect".

But the Justice Department lawyers point to a host of revisions in the new order, which exempts permanent legal residents, as well as those who already hold valid USA visas, and no longer gives preferential treatment to the refugee claims of religious minorities.

In a 68-page motion, Justice Department lawyers maintain that President Donald Trump enjoys "broad statutory authority" - bestowed by Congress - to "suspend the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens", making the travel ban well within his powers.

Additionally, the states filed almost 50 new "declarations" from residents, educational institutions, businesses and religious organizations, which set forth numerous harms they claim to face under the new executive order.

A two-page letter by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions was filed in opposition to the Hawaii suit last week.

Critics argue that, even though the new order exempts holders of valid visas and permanent residents with so-called green cards, it will have a very negative effect on schools and universities and the business world, mainly the high tech sector, which employs many highly skilled immigrants.

Hawaii was the first state to file a lawsuit against the president's revised ban, arguing it would.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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