U.S. Supreme Court oral argument in Trump v. Hawaii

April 25, 2018

Transcript  |  Audio

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     
April 24, 2018
Henrike Dessaules


(New York, NY) – Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Trump v. Hawaii, which challenges the latest iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban executive order. On the occasion, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center issued the following statement by IRAP’s Litigation Director, Mariko Hirose:

“Ever since the President issued his first executive order on January 27, 2017, IRAP has been at the forefront of challenging the discriminatory Muslim ban. Now, in its third iteration, the ban still targets primarily nationals of Muslim-majority countries, preventing them from reuniting with family, studying in the U.S., seeking medical assistance, attending conferences, and many other activities that others are able to do under our immigration laws.

The courts that have ruled on the merits have all blocked this ban. We hope that the Supreme Court will understand the devastating effects this ban is having on individuals, families, and organizations – not just abroad, but here in the U.S. The Supreme Court should reject the Muslim ban once and for all.”

In February, the Fourth Circuit affirmed an injunction blocking the executive order in IRAP’s own challenge, IRAP v. Trump. A petition for review of the decision is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

To view the press release, click here.

National Immigration Law Center
April 3, 2018

Hayley Burgess, media@nilc.org
Christina So, christinaso@advancingjustice-alc.org
CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, lmasri@cair.com
CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas, gabbas@cair.com

Diverse Groups File Amicus Briefs Asking the U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down the Muslim Ban

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of businesses, national security officials, local, state, and federal elected officials of both parties, civil rights leaders, and organizations representing impacted communities filed several dozen amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs opposing the latest iteration of President Trump’s Muslim ban last week. The briefs, whose filers represent large swaths of Americans, provide a stark contrast to the few briefs filed in support of Trump’s ban. Oral argument on the Muslim ban before the Supreme Court will take place on April 25.

The briefs provide a variety of practical and legal arguments explaining why the Muslim ban is unconstitutional and harmful public policy.

“The breadth of groups and individuals filing amicus briefs against the Trump administration’s Muslim ban is yet another indication that the public understood this illegal effort to be an attempt to demonize Islam and stigmatize Muslims,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas.
“Hundreds of families are being torn apart. A three-year-old child has been separated from his parents and forced to live in the care of extended family thousands of miles away,” said Ibraham Qatabi, a cofounder of the Yemeni American Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “A father has had to choose between keeping his job in the U.S. or joining his stranded wife and children in Djibouti. Some families have to choose between returning to a war-torn Yemen or being stranded indefinitely in a third country. This is a great injustice.”

These briefs provide the court with perspectives that may not be presented during oral argument in Hawaii v. Trump. Last December, the National Immigration Law Center and other civil rights groups successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Muslim ban before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. These groups, along with many others, shed light on the human toll the Muslim ban has already taken on families around the globe.

“The Muslim ban affects all Somalis by stopping family unification, delaying the arrival of those who have already been vetted, creating fear and uncertainty, threatening humanitarian workers travel plans, and most recently, denying the entry of the former president of Somalia,” said Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR Minnesota and an immigrant from Somalia.

Hawaii v. Trump challenges the latest iteration of President Trump’s Muslim ban, which seeks to indefinitely ban most nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States. This version of the ban has been in full effect since December 4, 2017.

“We’ve seen the devastating impact on countless families of U.S. citizens, green card–holders, students, and those with urgent medical needs since the Muslim Ban has been in effect,” said Elica Vafaie, an Iranian-American staff attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “Although the government has said that a waiver for these families is possible, in reality the government is achieving its goal of banning Muslims. We need the court to restore dignity and stop this unlawful ban.”

A full list of amicus briefs can be found here. To learn more about community rallies on April 25, please click here.

A coalition of civil rights organizations has engaged in legal, organizing, and advocacy efforts to fight back against each iteration of the Muslim ban. Learn more about these efforts by visiting www.NoMuslimBanEver.com.


International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center

December 23, 2017
Adela de la Torre, NILC
Henrike Dessaules, IRAP
Gabe Cahn, HIAS
Deb Frockt, Jewish Family Service of Seattle
Mindy Berkowitz, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley


(Seattle, WA) – Today, U.S. District Judge James Robart issued a ruling largely blocking implementation of the Trump administration’s most recent refugee restrictions which suspended the admission of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are predominantly Muslim, for a minimum of 90 days. The restrictions also stopped the follow-to-join process, which reunites family members with refugees already in the U.S.

This is the latest legal setback for the Trump Administration, which was also handed a loss yesterday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the latest iteration of their Muslim Ban. The ruling stops the implementation of the new refugee restrictions for refugees with bona fide relationships to the United States.

The decision follows a December 21 hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington regarding two challenges to the Trump administration’s October 25 ban on refugees.

Jewish Family Service v. Trump was brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); Lauren Aguiar, Mollie M. Kornreich, and Abigail Shaheen Davis; Perkins Coie LLP; and HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, on behalf of Jewish Family Service of Seattle, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley, and individual plaintiffs.

The second challenge heard as part of the hearing was ACLU of Washington v. Trump, brought by the ACLU of Washington, on behalf of plaintiff Joseph Doe, a refugee living in Washington state who seeks to be reunited with his family.

In response to the ruling, the counsel and plaintiffs issued the following statements:

Rabbi Will Berkovitz, Chief Executive Officer, Jewish Family Service of Seattle: “We are thrilled that families will have the chance to be reunited and refugees who have suffered so much will have the chance to make it to safety. As we celebrate this moment, we remember our ancestors who did not have anyone standing with them or for them.”

Mindy Berkowitz, Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley: “We are grateful for the judge’s ruling and proud to have acted on our Jewish values in defense of our vulnerable refugee clients. We are committed to always doing so until every last refugee is reunited with his or her family.”

Mark Hetfield, President and CEO, HIAS: “During HIAS’ first 40 years, from 1881 to 1921, this country gave refuge to over two million Jewish refugees while Asians were barred from entry due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The American Jewish community did not protest because we thought it did not affect us. Then, in 1921, Congress did the same to us. Today and every day, we defend the rights of refugees, whoever they are, because we know the consequences of shutting our doors.”

Mariko Hirose, Litigation Director, IRAP: “This Administration has attacked refugee resettlement since the first issuance of the Muslim ban, leaving vulnerable refugees left in limbo. This ruling brings relief to thousands of refugees in precarious situations in the Middle East and East Africa, as well as to refugees already in the U.S. who are trying to reunite with their spouses and children.”

Esther Sung, Staff Attorney, NILC: “The courts have once again rejected the administration’s unlawful attempt to turn its back on refugees. We are proud to stand alongside our plaintiffs, refugees, and Muslims in fighting the Trump Administration’s Muslim Bans.”

To view the press release,  click here.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    
December 4, 2017
Henrike Dessaules


(New York, NY) – Today, the Supreme Court granted a motion from the government requesting the full implementation of the President’s latest version of the Muslim ban, while the case is being litigated. In doing so, the Supreme Court allowed the most recent travel ban executive order to go into effect despite the decisions from the lower courts, which exempted travelers with bone fide relationships to U.S. persons or entities. It also veered off its ruling in June on the previous iteration of the travel ban, which had granted this exemption.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center is deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the government’s motion. This latest executive order, issued on September 24, seeks to enforce not only sweeping but also indefinite travel restrictions on eight nations, disproportionately affecting Muslim-majority countries. District courts in the 9th and 4th Circuit blocked the order from going into full effect, allowing nationals of the affected Muslim-majority countries with bona fide relationships to U.S. persons and entities to obtain visas and enter the country.

IRAP’s Litigation Director, Mariko Hirose, said: “The Supreme Court’s decision will prevent many eligible people from reuniting with their families, resuming their studies, or taking up jobs. While this ruling will have devastating consequences for these individuals and the Muslim community at large, IRAP and our partners will not give up fighting until this discriminatory ban is blocked in its entirety.”

An en banc panel of judges in the 4th District Court of Appeals will hear oral argument in IRAP v. Trump on Friday, December 8, to rule on the merits to the latest travel ban executive order.

To view the press release,  click here.

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center

Proclamation from Sept. 24, 2017: "Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats"

The revised executive order from Mar. 6, 2017: "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."

The original executive order from Jan. 27, 2017: "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States."