Friday, May 26, 2017

Appeals court upholds stay on Muslim ban, AsAm civil rights groups applaud

Donald Trump's executive orders sparked nationwide protests.

DONALD TRUMP'S attempt to implement a ban against immigrants or refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries once again ran into a wall Thursday (May 25).
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA refused to lift the injunction on Trumps second executive order saying it "drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination." In so doing, the court agreed with Judge Theodore Chuang of Maryland who ruled that Trump's EO was in effect, "a Muslim ban," which goes against the Constitution.

"The Fourth Circuit Court confirmed what we have been saying for months – President Trump’s Muslim travel ban is not only anti-Muslim and un-American, but fundamentally violates our constitutional right to freedom of religion," said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, cheered the decision.

"President Trump's Muslim ban violates the Constitution, as this decision strongly reaffirms," Jadwat, who argued the case. "The Constitution's prohibition on actions disfavoring or condemning any religion is a fundamental protection for all of us, and we can all be glad that the court today rejected the government's request to set that principle aside."
The White House said it disagreed with the ruling indicating that the decison woud likely  be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"These clearly are very dangerous times, and we need every available tool at our disposal to prevent terrorists from entering the United States and committing acts of bloodshed and violence," said White House spokesman Michael Short. "We are confident the President's executive order to protect the country is fully lawful and ultimately will be upheld by the Judiciary."
“We welcome (the) ruling as a strong indication that the federal courts reject the ‘Muslim ban’ as unconstitutional and un-American,” said Lena Masri, National Litigation Director for Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Ten of the 13 judges who heard the arguments held that although Trump had broad power to deny entry into the United States, his executive order "stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across the nation."

"The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution ... remains 'a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace,'" Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote in the majority opinion. "And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs’ right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination."

Like Judge Chuang before them, they took into account statements made by Trump during the presidential campaign promising to implement a Muslim ban.

"These statements, taken together, provide direct, specific evidence of what
motivated both EO-1 and EO-2: President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States," wrote Gregory in the court ruling. "We need not probe anyone’s heart of hearts to discover the purpose of EO-2, for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms."
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a coalition of five civil rights organizations issued a statement praising the court's decision. 

"Advancing Justice is thrilled to note the court did not allow fear-mongering and propaganda to overcome the basic civil and human rights that immigrants and refugees should be afforded," said the statement. "We commend the court for not repeating the shameful moments in history that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and saw more than nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II."

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments last March issued by Judge Derrick Kahala Watson of the 3rd District Court. While awaiting this appeal, the nationwide stay on the EO's travel ban will remain in place.

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