AU And Allies Urge Federal Appeals Court To Continue Blocking Muslim Ban 3.0

On Dec. 8, Americans United and our allies will go before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia to urge the court to continue blocking President Donald Trump’s un-American and unconstitutional Muslim ban.

Late last night, we joined our allies in filing a brief with the 4th Circuit that explains why U.S District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang in Maryland was correct to issue a nationwide injunction on Oct. 17 that blocks the ban from going into effect. Chuang was one of two federal judges who blocked the ban that day (the other was Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii).

Judge Chuang agreed that Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0 – like the two previous bans – likely violates the First Amendment because, as we argued, the government is showing disfavor against people of one particular religion. Judge Chuang referenced Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and other statements that tie together the intent of all three Muslim bans.

While Trump tried to disguise the intent of his latest Muslim ban when he issued it on Sept. 24 by adding North Koreans and Venezuelan governmental officials to the list of banned people, we weren’t fooled – and neither was Judge Chuang. The restriction on North Koreans and Venezuelans affects almost nobody; the ban still predominantly applies to immigrants and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. “(T)he inclusion of two non-majority Muslim nations, North Korea and Venezuela, does not persuasively show a lack of religious purpose behind the Proclamation,” Chuang wrote.

The Trump administration has appealed Judge Chuang’s ruling and the 4th Circuit will hear arguments in three cases challenging the Muslim ban on Dec. 8, including Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump. This was the first lawsuit to challenge Muslim Ban 3.0, filed by AU and our allies at Muslim Advocates and the law firm Covington & Burling LLP.

AU and allies are asking the court to continue blocking President Trump’s un-American and unconstitutional Muslim ban.

In our latest brief, we reiterate that the ban is unconstitutional because it discriminates against Muslims solely because of their religion. Religious freedom is about fairness. We don’t treat people differently because their beliefs are different from ours, and we certainly don’t ban them from the U.S.

Muslim Ban 3.0 “is the third order the President has signed this year banning more than one hundred million individuals from Muslim-majority nations from coming to the United States,” we wrote in yesterday’s brief. “These bans fulfill months of promises to ban Muslims from the United States – promises the President stood by after his election and on the day he signed the first order, and that he justified with the assertions that ‘Islam hates us’ and ‘we’re having problems with the Muslims, and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country.’”

We represent IAAB, a nonprofit that serves the Iranian diaspora community; Iranian Students’ Foundation, a student group at the University of Maryland; and six individuals, all of whom are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents with Iranian relatives who would be blocked from coming to the U.S. by Muslim Ban 3.0.

“Several of the plaintiffs have relatives who are gravely ill and are seeking urgent family reunification that will be prevented by the Proclamation,” notes our brief, which references plaintiffs both from the IAAB case and two other cases. “Some of the plaintiffs’ loved ones have little connection with their country of nationality, but are excluded nonetheless. And several plaintiffs fear that if the Proclamation takes effect, their loved ones will have no choice but to return to countries where they face grave danger.”

Trump’s Muslim ban is cruel. It separates families, hinders charitable and religious organizations from fulfilling their missions and it sends a message to all Muslims – citizens and non-citizens alike – that they are not welcome here. This ban violates not only the Constitution, but also our fundamental American values of religious freedom and fairness.

We’ll continue the fight against the Muslim ban. You can show your support by taking our “Religious Freedom Pledge” to speak out about religious freedom, fairness and equality.