Racial Equality

Judge Allows Muslim Ban Constitutional Challenge to Continue

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Washington, DC — A ruling issued on Thursday by a federal judge allows lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of President Trump’s Muslim Ban, including IAAB v. Trump, to continue, giving hope to the many families torn apart by this bigoted, un-American policy.

The lawsuit—brought by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Muslim Advocates and Covington & Burling, LLP—is the first major legal challenge brought against the current version of the Muslim Ban. Though the U.S. Supreme Court’s Trump v. Hawaii decision allowed the policy to be implemented, it did not settle the question of whether the Ban violates the Constitution. The plaintiffs in IAAB v. Trump include Iranian Alliances Across Borders, an Iranian-American diaspora community organization, as well as U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who have been personally affected by the Ban.

Yesterday’s decision, issued by Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, allows IAAB v. Trump to advance and gives attorneys the ability to develop the record and obtain more information to support the charge that the Muslim Ban violates the Constitution—including the Establishment Clause, a fundamental First Amendment protection that prevents the government from favoring one religion over another.

“We applaud today’s ruling, which allows us to continue the fight against President Trump’s Muslim Ban—a cruel and divisive policy that is harming our clients and countless other Muslims in America by separating families and fueling anti-Muslim violence,” said Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser. “The Muslim Ban violates our country’s fundamental promise of religious freedom for all, and we will do everything in our power to protect that freedom by ending the Ban.”

“This decision sends a clear message that the legal fight against President Trump’s discriminatory, unconstitutional Muslim Ban is far from over,” said Muslim Advocates Interim Legal Director Sirine Shebaya. “Our clients have been cruelly separated from their families and have had their lives put on hold. This latest development gives them needed hope and strengthens our resolve to fight as hard as we can and see this case through to the very end.”

“Today’s ruling demonstrates how glaringly apparent the anti-Muslim animus is that fuels the Ban. Thousands of families continue to be torn apart while others are denied life-saving treatments as a result of this horrific Ban,” stated Mana Kharrazi, executive director of Iranian Alliances Across Borders. “We must continue our legal battle in order to end this dark chapter of discrimination currently marring our country. We fight against this unconstitutional Ban because our families rely on us to protect them, our youth believe in us to do what is right, and because history looks disfavorably upon those who refuse to uphold our country’s greatest values.”

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.

Iranian Alliances Across Borders is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 2003. IAAB addresses issues of the Iranian diaspora by facilitating community building, developing ways to better understand what it means to be part of a diaspora community, and empowering members of the Iranian diaspora community to enhance connections with their new communities as well as maintain connections with their root community.

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

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Liz Hayes
Associate Vice President of Communications
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