December 5, 2017

American Muslims dismayed at Supreme Court
decision to implement Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The seven-million strong American Muslim community was dismayed Tuesday (Dec 5) over the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to allow President Trump’s “Muslim Ban 3.0” to be implemented until the court makes a final decision about the executive action's constitutionality. 

Earlier Monday, the Supreme Court issued two orders staying the Hawaii and Maryland federal courts' injunctions that had, until Monday, largely prevented the Trump administration from implementing Muslim Ban 3.0's visa restrictions. 

"This decision ignores the very real human consequences to American citizens and their families abroad imposed by President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0," said Lena Masri, National Litigation Director of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

"The Supreme Court's actions today are a good reminder that we can't simply rely on the courts to address the Trump administration's efforts to marginalize Muslims and other minorities," said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. "We must all do everything we can to oppose Muslim Ban 3.0."

It may be recalled that the CAIR and the Brennan Center for Justice filed suit against President Trump's Muslim Ban 3.0 on behalf of six American Muslims impacted by the immigration restrictions. Civil rights attorneys, including CAIR National attorney Gadeir Abbas, delivered oral arguments against the ban in mid-October.  

In a broad ruling on October 18th, U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang (Hawaii) granted CAIR and other groups' request for a nationwide injunction prohibiting the Trump administration from implementing its latest attempt to exclude Muslims from the United States. 

Judge Chuang ruled that the plaintiffs were likely to ultimately succeed in proving that anti-Muslim animus motivated the travel ban in violation of the Establishment Clause. He also noted that the ban violates federal law, which forbids the government from discriminating against visa applicants based on their nationality.

Sirine Shebaya, senior staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, a national legal advocacy organization, said the Supreme Court decision and the administration’s efforts are deeply injurious to Americans since families have been divided, businesses have suffered, and the American Muslim community has been marginalized and stigmatized.  “We will continue to fight against the ban with even greater resolve knowing that the consequences are so imminent for millions of families.”

The apex court’s Monday orders mean that the administration can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them Muslim. For now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups of people from Venezuela.

It was a victory for the White House, which has seen the courts trim back various iterations of the travel ban, and it bodes well for the administration if the Supreme Court is called upon to finally decide the merits of the president’s actions, the Washington Post said adding:

“Two lower courts had imposed restrictions on Trump’s new order, exempting travelers from the six countries who had “bona fide” connections with relatives — such as grandparents, aunts or uncles — or institutions in the United States. Those exemptions to the president’s order, issued in the fall, were along the lines of those imposed by the Supreme Court last summer on a previous version of the travel ban.

“But in an unsigned opinion Monday that did not disclose the court’s reasoning, the justices lifted the injunctions, which had been issued by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.”

The court’s move is “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a written statement. “We are pleased to have defended this order and heartened that a clear majority Supreme Court has allowed the President’s lawful proclamation protecting our country’s national security to go into full effect. The Constitution gives the President the responsibility and power to protect this country from all threats foreign and domestic, and this order remains vital to accomplishing those goals.”

The orders from the two district judges will be reviewed this week. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is set to consider the Hawaii case Wednesday, and the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond will consider the Maryland judge’s decision Friday.

The supreme court’s brief, unsigned orders Monday urged appeals courts to move swiftly to determine whether the latest ban was lawful, according to New York Times. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied the administration’s request to allow the latest ban to go into effect.

‘‘President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret,’’ Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told the Associated Press. “He has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter.’’

“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims,’’ Jadwat said. The ACLU is representing some opponents of the ban.

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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali


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