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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Anonymous

if we are citizens of Heaven, should there be any walls?

Kristin

We aren't all citizens of heaven. Many religions believe they won the lottery and they are the chosen ones to get into heaven... eluding common sense. There's a reason that church and state are meant to stay separate. Those religions already have walls up separating themselves from others and making themselves 'better than'. I don't think this is an argument that will win anybody.

Kristin

The majority of Americans do not support Trumps decision. Anonymous must be living under a rock or among Trump supporters. The popular vote didn't go to Trump and there are a lot of remorseful Trump voters and allot of people who didn't vote because they didn't like either candidate. In summary, the majority of Americans don't support this ban - not by a long shot. Best case scenario is that many Americans don't care because it doesn't affect them directly. ACLU protects people in the US of A. Including the vulnerable Americans you describe. Don't come down on them because they protect immigrants and those in the process of getting citizenship from countries you may not be in favor of. Nothing personal, but you don't seem to have a big heart if you don't see why this is an issue to block people set on coming to the US after fearing for their lives and needing refuge. They likely don't even want to leave their countries, but they have no choice. They are split from their families and this is their last chance at finding safety and wellbeing. It is good to support that and to not just focus on ourselves. You sound like you are not thinking through what you are writing and not kind hearted.

Kristin

The majority of Americans do not support Trumps decision. Anonymous must be living under a rock or among Trump supporters. The popular vote didn't go to Trump and there are a lot of remorseful Trump voters and allot of people who didn't vote because they didn't like either candidate. In summary, the majority of Americans don't support this ban - not by a long shot. Best case scenario is that many Americans don't care because it doesn't affect them directly. ACLU protects people in the US of A. Including the vulnerable Americans you describe. Don't come down on them because they protect immigrants and those in the process of getting citizenship from countries you may not be in favor of. Nothing personal, but you don't seem to have a big heart if you don't see why this is an issue to block people set on coming to the US after fearing for their lives and needing refuge. They likely don't even want to leave their countries, but they have no choice. They are split from their families and this is their last chance at finding safety and wellbeing. It is good to support that and to not just focus on ourselves. You sound like you are not thinking through what you are writing and not kind hearted.

Mike K

To all the hate on here, This is absolutely an American issue As inscribed at Ellis Island
"Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me / I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
This is the American way, and the American ideal.
Thank you ACLU for upholding and fighting for this!

stacy

AMEN!

Anonymous

It is not a Muslim ban. When you mess with National Security, you invite the very people who came here back in 2001 and conducted the 9/11 attacks. When you protest you incite and provoke behavior that can lead to a 9/11 style attack. The travel ban is something that Obama himself put in to place and now the hypocritical people of America want to rise up and say that it is wrong. If even one of my family or friends gets hurt or injured as a result of you people suing the President for your ignorance I will make sure I spend my days suing each and every one of you. Don't mess with National Security. The travel ban is like inviting someone to your home, you wouldn't invite someone to your home without first getting to know them, would you. If we let the refugees in and they attack we are wrong. If we vet them and they conduct an attack, at least they were vetted.

Steve

The ACLU has fallen so far from its original purpose, it is amazing. You are here to protect American's civil liberties. Not refugees or immigrants, American's. Why is that concept so hard to understand?

To my knowledge, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are in place to protect Americans. The 4th and 14th Amendments don't apply to immigrants (legal or illegal) or refugees that are allowed to live here.

America needs to put Americans first. It's ok to say that. It's ok to think that. This is our country, we are allowed to screen who we allow in here. We are allowed to tell people if they want to live here, they need to follow our laws , starting with how they enter the country.

Why don't any of you get that? I guess coming from a family with a rich history of defending this country, I get it.

By the way, the Hollywood and DC Elite are way out of touch with most American. Most people in this country are happy with how things are going.

D Anderson

I have been a strong advocate and member of the ACLU since 1983. And I have virtually never questioned it. (Not even when the ACLU defended some pretty unpalatable cases that, deep down, I wished had been banned from existence.) The reason is that it is NOT the individuals or groups that they defend but their constitutional RIGHTS. Nothing more, but nothing less either. You or I or anybody else could be their next case. The constitutional rights of an individual are never safe, just because they are guaranteed by the constitution, american or otherwise. When you find fault with the ACLU, remember folks that hitler was ELECTED BY POPULAR VOTE, that his first move was to silence the press, his second to remove the constitutional rights of legal immigrants and foreigners, and very soon after to take full powers into his own hands. The sad thing is that he was not the only one. Most of the dictators who seized power for the good of the people did the very same thing! That is the only thing hey have in common.

Raechel

Thank You ACLU for all that you do! we are all humans and need to ban together. United we stand!

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