Today, Americans United filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald J. Trump’s latest attempt at a Muslim ban. The suit seeks justice for Muslim Yemeni parents who were granted asylum in the United States and are now unable to get U.S. visas for two of their young children still stranded overseas and facing the danger of returning to war-torn Yemen. It also represents American Muslims seeking to worship with religious scholars who are being denied entry to the country.
Americans United joined Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer in filing the case, UMAA v. Trump, in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the Yemeni family and the Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA), a Shi’a Muslim organization that often hosts religious scholars from Iran, Iraq and Syria, where most of Shi’a Islam’s most learned scholars reside.
Their claims add a unique perspective to how the Muslim ban is harming individual families and the Muslim community at large.
Our lawsuit notes that, “During his Presidential Campaign, then-Candidate Trump repeatedly condemned what he calls ‘radical Islam,’ linking Islam to terrorism and calling for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’” These statements, as well as statements of the President’s advisors and staff, show that religious discrimination was the primary motive behind the original ban. The new ban is no different and no less unconstitutional.
Federal courts blocked the first ban – which temporarily barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the United States – from being implemented. So the administration withdrew it and replaced it with a new, substantially similar ban in the hope of avoiding litigation.
The new Muslim ban remains unconstitutional, and we will continue fighting it.
Federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland have put the second ban temporarily on hold nationwide. Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Hawaii case and in multiple cases challenging the first executive order. You can stay updated on all of our work against the Muslim ban here.
AU Executive Director Barry W. Lynn emphasized the importance of today’s lawsuit by noting that religious discrimination is not just un-American and unconstitutional, it creates dehumanizing situations – such as the separation of families.
“This lawsuit proves that President Trump’s Muslim ban isn’t just unconstitutional, it’s also cruel. It divides families and keeps children from their parents, for no reason other than bias and prejudice against members of the Muslim faith,” Lynn said.
Muslim Advocates’ legal director Johnathan Smith echoed this sentiment: “The Muslim ban is about religious discrimination at its core. The Constitution couldn’t be more clear: Americans have the right to worship as they choose and to keep their families intact.”