Attorneys for several rights groups won a major battle Saturday night after a federal judge issued a stay on President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim executive order. That ruling effectively stops the administration from deporting refugees and immigrants from the seven predominantly Muslim countries cited in Trump’s order.
Several attorneys are now waging a legal battle to rule Trump’s discriminatory order unconstitutional. The American Civil Liberties Union, which along with the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, the National Immigration Law Center, and other groups won Saturday night’s legal victory in federal court, will continue arguing the case as a class-action lawsuit by claiming the executive order “violates due process, equal protection, international law, and immigration law.”
They also will argue the executive order violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. According to ACLU Legal Director David Cole, “the Constitution bars the government from targeting Islam. One of the lowest of many low moments in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was his December 2015 call for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslim immigration.
The ACLU will set out to prove the intent and effect of Trump’s order was to discriminate based on religion, and given both candidate and President Trump’s previous statements, they’ll have plenty of examples to cite.
Groups like the National Iranian American Council plan on challenging Trump administration policy by taking congressional and legal action while maintaining public pressure to keep the issue in the public’s eye and spread it to a broader audience.
According to NIAC, “Congress can pass legislation to revoke the order, revoke the President’s authorities to carry out such an order, and/or block funding for the implementation of the order. NIAC Action is organizing now to convince lawmakers to take on such an approach.”
The ACLU also is working to block Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. On Jan. 25, the ACLU sent a letter to senators Charles Grassley and Dianne Feinstein urging them to call a second hearing on Sessions’ nomination due to “the grave dangers to civil liberties and civil rights, posed by the actions taken and proposed by President Donald Trump over the past five days.” The ACLU wants the Senate to investigate Sessions’ possible role in developing the Trump administration’s new executive orders and “his plans to implement and execute them.”
The letter stated:
As you know, in his first hearing, Senator Sessions testified, ‘I have no belief and do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States.’ Because President Trump’s [then] forthcoming executive order excludes refugees and immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, we advise you to seek further clarification from Senator Sessions about whether he intends to implement this order and whether he believes it to be consistent with his first claim to the committee.
The Senate Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to vote on Sessions’ nomination on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, here is NIAC’s latest analysis on the immediate consequences of Trump’s order, which gives insight to the impact the travel ban will have on people from different countries.
If you are an Iranian national outside of the U.S. with a valid U.S. visa, you will not be able to enter the United States.
- Iranian nationals who are also citizens of a 3rd country (e.g. Canada) will still be barred from entering the United States, according to the State Department.
- U.S. permanent resident aliens (green card holders) from Iran who are outside of the United States will be barred from re-entry, according to a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson.
- Green card holders must apply for a case-by-case exemption from the Department of Homeland Security to be allowed reentry to the United States.
- U.S. citizens will not be directly affected by the ban.
- There is nothing to indicate that persons on valid visas inside the United States will be expelled so long as they do not leave the country and have a legal basis for remaining in the U.S.
Stay tuned, the legal battle is just beginning.