Federal Court Rejects Government Request to Reconsider Injunction Against Trump Policy Banning Admission of Refugees to U.S.

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
January 8, 2018 9:30 am

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The U.S. District Court in Seattle today rejected a government motion to reconsider a nationwide Preliminary Injunction the Court issued on Dec. 24, 2017, against a Trump administration policy that indefinitely barred certain refugees from entering the U.S.

The action came in the case Doe v. Trump, which the ACLU filed on February 7, 2017. Plaintiffs include a number of people whose lives have been directly impacted by the Muslim Ban and two organizations: the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington, whose work has been greatly impacted by the ban’s violation of the First Amendment’s establishment of religion clause; and the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, whose efforts to fulfill its religious mission of serving refugees have been severely harmed by the ban.

In denying the motion to reconsider, the Court recognized that the Trump administration policy has caused immediate and irreparable harm to the work of refugee resettlement agencies, such as the Episcopal Diocese’s refugee resettlement program, which fulfills the Diocese’s religious mission of welcoming and assisting strangers.

“The Trump administration’s heartless refugee ban has hurt families and the agencies that serve them,” said ACLU of Washington staff attorney Lisa Nowlin. “It has barred refugees who have undergone thorough vetting and were preparing to travel from entering the U.S. The Court’s ruling recognizes that the ban has prevented the admission of refugees whom the Episcopal Diocese has already expended significant resources in preparing to resettle.”

While the administration had cited grounds of national security for its policy, the Court found that the government did not point to any specific national security threat that justified the suspension of admitting refugees with bona fide relationships to people or entities within the U.S.

The ACLU-WA motion for a Preliminary Injunction challenged different aspects of the Muslim Ban than those that are under challenge in litigation filed by various attorneys general in the District Court of Hawaii and by the ACLU in Maryland.

The ACLU-WA case was consolidated with another case challenging the Muslim ban brought by the International Refugee Assistance Project, the National Immigration Law Center, HIAS, and others on behalf of Jewish Family Service of Seattle (JFS) and other plaintiffs.

Representing the Plaintiffs are ACLU-WA Legal Director Emily Chiang and staff attorney Lisa Nowlin; and ACLU-WA cooperating attorneys Lynn Lincoln Sarko, Tana Lin, Amy Williams-Derry, Derek Loeser, Alison Gaffney, Laurie Ashton, and Alison Chase of Keller Rohrback L.L.P.

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