Travel Ban Lawsuits Filed by Legal Center, Muslim Advocates - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Travel Ban Lawsuits Filed by Legal Center, Muslim Advocates

Posted: 10/03/2017 08:35:00 -04:00 Updated:

BALTIMORE (AP)- A coalition of Muslim and Iranian-American advocates and a nonpartisan legal institute filed the first lawsuits against the Trump administration's new travel restrictions for citizens of eight countries, including Iran, that were announced late last month.

The lawsuits were filed Monday in federal courts in New York and Maryland.

The Trump administration in September announced the most recent restrictions, which affect citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen - and some Venezuelan government officials and their families. They are to go into effect Oct. 18.

One lawsuit, filed Monday night in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Maryland on behalf of the Iranian Alliance Across Borders and six individuals, argues that restricting travel for citizens of predominantly Muslim countries violates the U.S. Constitution.

"Iranian Americans, and other affected communities, have had to familiarize themselves with ambiguous new laws and policies every few months because of this president's obsession with fulfilling a flawed campaign promise to ban Muslims from the United States. This erosion of fundamental American values must stop," said Shayan Modarres, legal counsel for the National Iranian American Council, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit.

A second suit, filed hours earlier in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, seeks to compel the State Department to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request and turn over documents submitted to the White House by the Department of Homeland Security detailing the information-sharing practices of foreign countries and justifying the decision to exclude travelers from select countries.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. The White House referred questions to the State Department, which declined to comment on ongoing litigation.

President Donald Trump on Sept. 24 issued a proclamation outlining the new travel restrictions. Administration officials said the latest version is the result of a lengthy process, based on an objective assessment of each country's security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S.

It was the administration's third measure to limit travel after a broad ban that sparked chaos at U.S. airports in January and numerous challenges in courts across the country. The administration later issued a temporary order after suffering legal setbacks on the earlier attempt at restrictions.

The Iranian Alliance Across Borders lawsuit is filed against Trump, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke, acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan, acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services James McCament, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The suit argues that simply adding two countries that are not majority-Muslim to the list is only "an effort to disguise the Proclamation's targeting of Muslims." Such discrimination violates the First Amendment and the Immigration and Nationality Act, the suit says. The group is asking for a nationwide injunction to stop the restrictions from going into effect.

"Despite 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."

The prior ban included Sudan but didn't include Chad, North Korea or Venezuela. The new measures range from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of Syria to more targeted limitations. Iranians, for example, will not be eligible for immigrant, tourism or business visas but remain eligible for student and cultural exchange visas if they undergo additional scrutiny.

Johnathan Smith, legal director for Muslim Advocates, an organization representing the plaintiffs in both lawsuits, said the complaints take issue with both the impact of the travel restrictions and the process by which they were developed.

"You can't ignore the fact that this ban affects heavily Muslim countries, and the fact that they attempt to obscure that bias by adding two countries - North Korea and Venezuela - that don't have a Muslim majority doesn't negate the fact that at its core, this policy is about blocking entry of Muslim individuals into the United States," Smith said. "In addition to the challenge of constitutionality to the program, it's equally important to bring some transparency, some light, some sunshine to these processes so all Americans can see what's happening and make their own judgments and assessments about what the White House and federal agencies are doing."

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups previously sued the administration over its original travel ban on visitors from six majority-Muslim countries. Last week, the ACLU announced that it planned to amend its existing lawsuit to include the latest restrictions, and seek to stop the suspension of visas and other entry restrictions. Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in an email Friday that the agency "will continue to vigorously defend the President's inherent authority to keep this country safe."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Maryland Workforce Plan Intended To Build Worker Pipeline

    Maryland Workforce Plan Intended To Build Worker Pipeline

    Jul 20, 2018 10:34 AM2018-07-20 14:34:00 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 10:36 AM EDT2018-07-20 14:36:23 GMT
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Governor Larry Hogan has announced that the 2018 State Workforce Plan has been approved by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. According to the Governor's Office, the new plan includes updates on Maryland’s progress with imMore
    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Governor Larry Hogan has announced that the 2018 State Workforce Plan has been approved by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. According to the Governor's Office, the new plan includes updates on Maryland’s progress with imMore
  • Former Lawmaker Facing Domestic Violence Charges Again

    Former Lawmaker Facing Domestic Violence Charges Again

    Jul 20, 2018 7:01 AM2018-07-20 11:01:00 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 10:19 AM EDT2018-07-20 14:19:24 GMT
    Former Delaware Rep. John C. AtkinsFormer Delaware Rep. John C. Atkins
    Former Delaware Rep. John C. AtkinsFormer Delaware Rep. John C. Atkins
    A former Delaware lawmaker has been arrested on charges of strangulation and assault following a domestic dispute.More
    A former Delaware lawmaker has been arrested on charges of strangulation and assault following a domestic dispute.More
  • Delaware State Fair Kicks Off in Harrington

    Delaware State Fair Kicks Off in Harrington

    Jul 19, 2018 6:58 PM2018-07-19 22:58:00 GMT
    Friday, July 20 2018 10:19 AM EDT2018-07-20 14:19:11 GMT
    The 99th Annual Delaware State Fair kicked off Thursday in Harrington. The event runs for 10 days at the fairgrounds and features amusement park rides, food vendors, agriculture exhibits, and other events like concerts.More
    The 99th Annual Delaware State Fair kicked off Thursday in Harrington. The event runs for 10 days at the fairgrounds and features amusement park rides, food vendors, agriculture exhibits, and other events like concerts.More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • 40 German Shepherds Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    40 German Shepherds Removed From Kennel Near Pocomoke

    Last Friday Dog Control in Westover received an anonymous complaint about Jolindy's Kennel stating that the property is dirty and there were concerns for the dogs living there. 

    Linda Brown is the owner of the kennel and she was surprised when the Somerset County Sheriff Department showed up yesterday with animal control officers to remove all 40 of her German Shepherds.

    More

    Last Friday Somerset County Animal Control officials in Westover received an anonymous complaint about Jolindy's Kennel stating that the property is dirty and there were concerns for the dogs living there. On Wednesday, animal control officers showed up at the kennel to remove all 40 of Jolindy's German shepherds.

    More
  • Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    Nearly Half of July's Overdoses Were in Sussex County

    The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county. 

    The recent spike has prompted a state warning specifically targeted at heroin users. According to the release, the uptick may be the result of heroin being laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid much more powerful than most drugs. 

    More

    The opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation, including here in Sussex County where nearly half of the deaths from drug overdoses this month are from Delaware's southern-most county. 

    The recent spike has prompted a state warning specifically targeted at heroin users. According to the release, the uptick may be the result of heroin being laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid much more powerful than most drugs. 

    More
  • WBOC Evening Weather 7/19/2018

    WBOC Evening Weather 7/19/2018

Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices