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>>

  • Snow Hill Mayor Resigns

    Snow Hill Mayor Resigns

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:54 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:54:03 GMT
    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:54 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:54:03 GMT
    Snow Hill (Photo WBOC)Snow Hill (Photo WBOC)
    Snow Hill (Photo WBOC)Snow Hill (Photo WBOC)
    The community of Snow Hill is speaking out about the Mayor's sudden resignation. Both the Mayor and the town council released statements regarding his leave.More
    The community of Snow Hill is speaking out about the Mayor's sudden resignation. Both the Mayor and the town council released statements regarding his leave. More
  • Progress on Bowers Beach Drainage Project at Mercy of the Tides

    Progress on Bowers Beach Drainage Project at Mercy of the Tides

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:18:54 GMT
    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:18 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:18:54 GMT
    BOWERS BEACH, Del. --- Wrapping up the major replacement of a drainage system beneath an oft-flooded in Bowers Beach has proved to be a slower process than some town officials and neighbors have hoped for. A new drainage pipe has recently replaced a smallMore
    BOWERS BEACH, Del. --- Wrapping up the major replacement of a drainage system beneath an oft-flooded in Bowers Beach has proved to be a slower process than some town officials and neighbors have hoped for. A new drainage pipe has recently replaced a smallMore
  • Arrest Made In Dover Inn Robbery, Shooting

    Arrest Made In Dover Inn Robbery, Shooting

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:12 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:12:34 GMT
    Tuesday, October 16 2018 7:12 PM EDT2018-10-16 23:12:44 GMT
    An arrest has been made in the shooting and robbery at the Dover Inn earlier this week.More
    An arrest has been made in the shooting and robbery at the Dover Inn earlier this week.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police Looking for Driver Involved in Pedestrian Hit-And-Run Crash

    Police Looking for Driver Involved in Pedestrian Hit-And-Run Crash

    Monday, October 15 2018 8:56 PM EDT2018-10-16 00:56:06 GMT
    Monday, October 15 2018 8:56 PM EDT2018-10-16 00:56:06 GMT
    The Milford Police Department is asking for the public's help in finding a driver who police say hit a pedestrian and drove off.More
    The Milford Police Department is asking for the public's help in finding a driver who police say hit a pedestrian and drove off. More
  • Seaford Man Wanted In Connection To Hit-And-Run

    Seaford Man Wanted In Connection To Hit-And-Run

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 12:07 PM EDT2018-10-16 16:07:24 GMT
    Tuesday, October 16 2018 12:07 PM EDT2018-10-16 16:07:24 GMT
    Delaware State Police are asking for the public's help in locating a man wanted in connection with a hit-and-run crash in Seaford.More
    Delaware State Police are asking for the public's help in locating a man wanted in connection with a hit-and-run crash in Seaford.More
  • Nanticoke Road Closure in Wicomico County

    Nanticoke Road Closure in Wicomico County

    Monday, October 15 2018 5:19 PM EDT2018-10-15 21:19:28 GMT
    Monday, October 15 2018 5:19 PM EDT2018-10-15 21:19:28 GMT
    Nanticoke Road (Photo WBOC)Nanticoke Road (Photo WBOC)
    Nanticoke Road (Photo WBOC)Nanticoke Road (Photo WBOC)
    A part of Nanticoke Road is closed for a significant period of time due to part of the road collapsing. The State Highway Administration is working around the clock to make the necessary repairs.More
    A part of Nanticoke Road is closed for a significant period of time due to part of the road collapsing. The State Highway Administration is working around the clock to make the necessary repairs. More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    "Hood Fight Salisbury" Cell Phone Videos

    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
    27 cell phone videos depicting brutal streets fights among teenagers in Salisbury were posted online. Local leaders including the Mayor, State's Attorney and a Reverend react to the media.More
  • Nanticoke Road Closure in Wicomico County

    Nanticoke Road Closure in Wicomico County

    It wasn't more than two years ago when a part of Nanticoke road was destroyed due to a damaged drain pipe. 

    Now, it is happening again. 

    As thousands of gallons of water are being relocated from one side of the Rockawalkin Creek to the other - the road remains closed for a significant period of time. 

    More

    It wasn't more than two years ago when a part of Nanticoke road was destroyed due to a damaged drain pipe. 

    Now, it is happening again. 

    As thousands of gallons of water are being relocated from one side of the Rockawalkin Creek to the other - the road remains closed for a significant period of time. 

    More
  • Crisfield Science Teacher named Maryland's 'Teacher of the Year'

    Crisfield Science Teacher named Maryland's 'Teacher of the Year'

    Crisfield High School is celebrating today. Dr. Richard Warren, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teacher at the high school, is Maryland's teacher of the year.

    More

    Crisfield High School is celebrating today. Dr. Richard Warren, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math teacher at the high school, is Maryland's teacher of the year.

    More
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