Americans United Asks Court To Block Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0

Today, Americans United and our allies will ask a federal court to block President Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0 from taking effect until the case we filed challenging the latest ban is decided.

We are filing a request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the Muslim ban from taking effect on Oct. 18. The Trump administration wants to indefinitely bar nationals from the predominantly Muslim countries of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States.

Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0 was announced Sept. 24, just as the previous ban was set to expire and just a few weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hear argument in two cases challenging the ban. The high court temporarily canceled the Oct. 10 argument and asked the government and the plaintiffs to explain whether the cases should proceed in light of Trump’s new Muslim ban. The plaintiffs – the state of Hawaii and the International Refugee Assistance Project – yesterday told the court the cases should proceed; the government said the court should find them to be moot.

Americans United and our allies at Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP immediately challenged Muslim Ban 3.0 by filing the first lawsuit against it, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump. Our lawsuit explains that the new Muslim ban is still un-American and unconstitutional because it singles out people for disfavor because of their religion.

“This is the third time that President Trump has tried to implement the Muslim ban, and it’s still designed to exclude people because of their religious beliefs. The only thing that’s really different here is that the Trump administration is now trying to make this appalling ban permanent,” said AU Legal Director Richard B. Katskee. “Religious freedom is about fairness. When we treat one group of people unfairly because of their religious beliefs, that's a threat to the religious freedom of all Americans.”

AU and allies are asking a federal judge to block Muslim Ban 3.0 from taking effect.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), a nonprofit that serves the Iranian diaspora community, and six individuals, all of whom are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with Iranian relatives who will be blocked from coming to the United States by Muslim Ban 3.0.

The lawsuit explains that “[d]espite President Trump’s attempts to cloak this latest iteration of his Muslim ban in religiously neutral garb by invoking a national security review and including North Korea and Venezuela, the purpose and effect of the Proclamation remain unchanged: to keep Muslims from entering the United States.” By doing so, the president’s latest Muslim ban “betrays our nation’s most central principles and forsakes our common heritage as a country founded in part on the principle of freedom from religious persecution.”

A hearing on our request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for Oct. 16, two days before Muslim Ban 3.0 goes into effect. The judge presiding over our case, U.S. District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland, was one of several federal judges who blocked a previous version of the Muslim ban from going into effect.

Also, yesterday Americans United and allies filed a separate lawsuitMuslim Advocates v. Department of Homeland Security – to compel the Trump administration to release critically important details on how someone may obtain a waiver under the Muslim ban. The waiver process will be one of the only ways people from the barred countries may be able to enter the United States. In June, AU, Muslim Advocates and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for information about how the federal government intends to implement the case-by-case waiver provisions, but the administration has yet to comply with any part of that request, even though the statutory deadline for a response has long since passed.

AU has been fighting Trump’s Muslim ban since he issued the first version in January, and the fight is far from over.