In President Trump’s First Week, ACLU Hands Him First Stinging Rebuke

This is a remarkable day. When Donald Trump was elected president, we promised that if he tried to implement his unconstitutional and un-American policies that we would take him to court. We did that today. And we won.

Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order that suspended resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely, suspended all other refugee resettlement for 120 days, and banned the entry of nationals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. All seven countries are predominately Muslim countries. We have no doubt that the motivation behind the executive order was discriminatory. This was a Muslim ban wrapped in a paper-thin national security rationale.

The executive order went into effect immediately and so did its destructive intent. At John F. Kennedy International Airport last night, Hameed Khalid Darweesh arrived and was immediately detained. Darweesh worked as interpreter for the Army’s 101st Airborne Division and, according to Brandon Friedman, a platoon leader in Iraq, saved countless U.S. service members’ lives. We don’t know how many other refugees and foreign nationals with green cards or visas might have been detained when they tried to make their way into the United States today, but we intend to find out. We are asking anyone with any information to get in touch with the ACLU.

The ACLU with other organizations immediately sprang into action and challenged Trump’s executive order in court as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. We immediately got a hearing and argued our case. At around 9 p.m., Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay, blocking President Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported. She did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, but for now, the men and women who would have been deported are safe. When I and staff attorney Lee Gelernt emerged from the courthouse, we were met with a sea of people cheering and chanting.

I cannot express how humbling and inspiring this moment is.

The United States is a nation governed by the rule of law and not the iron will of one man. President Trump now has learned that we are democratic republic where the powers of government are not dictatorial. They are limited. The courts are the bulwark of our democracy that protects individual rights and guards against the overreaching of an administration that confuses its will for the American public’s.

Tonight was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, one that demonstrates that the people united will never be divided. This is only the beginning. This is merely the first skirmish in a long battle to vigorously defend the Bill of Rights from the authoritarian designs of the Trump administration.

Savor this victory tonight, but prepare to fight on. 

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mary

Thank you thank you. as i was in utter despair yesterday the ACLU came through with a beacon of hope. I will continue to support the brave and important work that you do. Bravo

GKraynak

Thank you for being there.

Anonymous

Why didn't you litigate in December of 2015 when the legislation was originally passed? Two years seems an awfully long time to wait for civil rights. Not enough donors back then?

Anonymous

That's not even close to two years for one damn thing. They've been doing stuff LIKE this all through Obama's administration and I only know because I decided after 2 decades to look at what my friend did when he worked with ACLU. He's a Civil Rights & Criminal Law attorney.
I still like him, but I'm mostly Republican about crime. I still can't get used to Criminal Law.

Anonymous

Before I say this I think it's important to note that I don't believe Donald Trump does anything for "justice." There's no such thing as justice in a homicide no matter what people say to the contrary. Even the death sentence isn't true justice but watching your loved one's murderer live while he stays dead is a singular experience I'd never wish on my worst enemy.

My comment is made on behalf of the family and friends of Eric Bennett and Todd Beamer, two of the victims of September 11.

Considering that ACLU ALSO tries to free ACTUAL terrorists sometimes, some of this article's comments make me sick. Mohammedou Slahi, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the 20th 9/11 hijacker at Guantanamo Bay are every one of them guilty for what they did. The 9th Circuit Court in Washington D.C and even his attorneys admitted that Slahi "indoctrinated the terrorists who flew the planes on September 11." It was never even a question of whether he did it - HE DID IT AND EVERYONE IN THE COURT AGREED HE DID. Their only question was whether he KNEW he did and the judge was forced to rule that he "probably didn't know that's what he was doing," which neatly introduced the "shadow of a doubt," which is how his attorneys neatly got him off on a technicality and delivered a big, giant slap in the face to 2,989 dead victims and their loved ones on 9/11 and 6,000 more people who were injured trying to make it out alive.
Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Qahtani both know they're guilty. Khalid Sheik Mohammed asked his attorney to try him using Sharia Law; a NOT guilty person wouldn't have asked that, why would they need to? He was denied the request but he had the nerve to ask for it because he knows he did something.
Qahtani (the 20th hijacker) was denied a leave to go to his home country. Just last MONTH he was denied this motion not that any of you people who DON'T know a murder victim of September 11 would even know this occurred because the media doesn't give a shit about printing it. Lawfareblog.com published it.
Don't think someone whose relative was murdered on September 11 isn't following the Pre-trial hearings at Guantanamo - and mentioning the parts I'm ALLOWED to note. The people who did what they did on September 11 have NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH BEING INNOCENT BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT, but half the gd people giving money to this place are doing it in order to free people who have never been even remotely benign when it comes to terrorist activity.
If any one of the people who are in Pre-trial hearings right now are freed the people helping do it are not doing so because of an interest in "civil rights," all of which were denied to Eric and the others when they were burned out of existence on September 11, 2001. I don't know what the attorneys defending the accused are interested in doing but civil rights has nothing to do with it.
Maybe people here want to pretend there's no current fallout from September 11, but that's your problem. We live with the continued silence and empty spot at the table every day and will do so until we're called home. The people who actually brought the nightmare into our life, people like Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Qahtani and Mohammedou Slahi, don't deserve to see the outside of a prison. I don't care that one was freed on a technicality. As far as I'm concerned he still belongs in prison. If I hit someone in the head with a baseball bat, not knowing I did it, the person would still receive injuries. I would owe the person affected at least a token acknowledgement that I know I did it and that it was dumb to do.
That's my opinion and just like everyone else, I feel no need to apologize for it, especially when we've never received anything that even resembles regret from the people who did it to us.

Vicki Bee

I don't agree with getting rid of people who are harmless.
But I don't know how you're supposed to know which ones are dangerous and which ones are okay.
All 19 terrorists were in this country legally for 7 months before doing what they did on September 11. They spent the entire time they were here plotting the deaths of 2,989 people. But they were here legally and you probably couldn't have thrown them out just because you suspected they were up to no good. Besides that, nobody REALLY suspected it, or I don't think they would have let them continue their plans with blithe nonchalance.
They picked up someone in Canada who was trying to cross the border into the United States when they thought he was involved in one of the plots (there were 2 if you include the plan to do something in 2000, which failed to take place.) He made himself look totally ridiculous when he blamed us for his behavior and they kept him in custody, but not all terrorists are as stupid as he was. Mohammed Atta, the one responsible for killing our loved one, flew under the radar the entire time he was here and nobody, not even people who interacted with him directly, suspected him of anything other than being a "nice, respectable person." People have even told us they "met him four days before he did that and he was a nice guy."
I wouldn't wish on ANYone what happened to us, but I don't know how you're supposed to know who has those intentions toward us. Timothy McVeigh proved that even some white Christians are terrorists.
I suppose it would probably be unConstitutional to ask what they think of terrorist actions before admitting them to the country, and someone who agreed with terrorism would lie anyway.

Mad

I have decided that the ACLU is the best place to put my voice, because it is not limited to women's issues, race issues, LGBTQ issues, or any other SPECIFIC issues of our rights, but to ALL of these rights and more.... So I put some money where my mouth is.

Anonymous

That was a bandaid. where is the lawsuit for the illegality and unconstitutionality of the ban as a whole as a freedom as religious discrimination? Even the AG is saying it's illegal!! Get it the SCOTUS before trumps appointment!

Joe

Trump didn't go far enough. Ban should have been for ALL muslim countries. Keep thrm out!!!

Kristin

Agreed. Because that would be illegal and then we could get Trump pushed out of office. I hope he listens to your brilliant and thought out ideas.

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