ACLU and Other Groups Challenge Trump Immigration Ban After Refugees Detained at Airports Following Executive Order

UPDATE (1/28/17): A federal judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s new Muslim ban. 

The ACLU, along with several groups, filed a lawsuit this morning on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States on immigrant visas when President Trump issued an executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country.

One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was traveling on an Iraqi special Immigrant Visa and had worked as an electrical engineer and contractor for the U.S. government from 2003–2010. Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq, said Mr. Darweesh had worked for him as an interpreter. He said on Twitter yesterday that Mr. Darweesh “spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq.”

The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, had been granted a Follow to Join Visa. His wife and 7-year-old son are lawful permanent residents residing in Houston, Texas, and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. Mr. Alshawi’s son has not seen his father for three years.

“President Trump's war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Immigration officials at John F. Kenndy Airport said there was no other reason than President Trump’s executive order to detain the men. 

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