President Donald Trump’s recent orders on closing the nation to refugees and people from certain predominantly Muslim countries has provoked a crisis just days into his administration. Thousands of travelers were stranded at airports across the U.S. after the orders were rolled out. The immigration ban incited protests at major U.S. airports as thousands of protesters marched to airports across the country on Sunday, carrying signs proclaiming “Refugees Welcome” and “No Ban, No Wall.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations, a group of Muslims Americans and Muslim immigrants, has asked a federal judge to declare the executive order on immigration unconstitutional as it creates “favored and disfavored groups based on their faith.”
The lawsuit that was filed in federal district court in Virginia was led by Palestinian American activist Linda Sarsour. It brands President Trump’s executive directive a “Muslim exclusion order.”
“We will use every non-violent means necessary to fight for the constitutional rights of Muslims and all Americans. We will not sit back. We will not be silenced,” said Sarsour.
Sarsour and 27 other plaintiffs contend that the Muslim exclusion order represents “the fulfillment of President Trump’s longstanding promise and boasted intent to enact a federal policy that overtly discriminates against Muslims and officially broadcasts a message that the federal government disfavors the religion of Islam, preferring all other religions instead.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Trump’s orders violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause, which forbids the government from exulting one belief and system over others.
“Our First Amendment is under attack. We, as attorneys, are foot soldiers of the American Constitution and took an oath to protect all from being targeted by the government because of their faith,” said Shereef Akeel.
The lawsuit states that Trump’s restrictions on travel will directly affect the plaintiffs’ ability to go freely to their countries of origin and then return. Although all plaintiffs are lawfully in the country, they argue that they stand to suffer harm under the executive order if they step foot outside U.S. borders.
Federal courts in different parts of the country have ordered the federal government not to detain or deport individuals who land with visas.
Recently, acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump because she said the Justice Department would not defend in court Trump's directive that put a 120-day hold on allowing refugees into the country, an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria and a 90-day bar on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Soon after President Trump’s decision, people came out in support of Yates.
Sally Yates understood the consequences, and did the right thing anyway. That is what a patriot looks like! #SallyYates— Buck Calabro (@starbuck5250) January 31, 2017
We need every active civil servant & elected official who opposes travel ban to muster their courage and speak out like hero #SallyYates— Beau Willimon (@BeauWillimon) January 31, 2017
Image Sources Banner: Reuters