ACLU Claims Anti-Muslim Bias in Trump Immigration Order

  • Lawsuit in Maryland federal court is one of several nationwide
  • Case filed as appeals court weighs pause on executive order

The American Civil Liberties Union claims Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern nations discriminates against Muslims, opening another front in the 11-day-old legal war over the new president’s edict.

“Rarely in American history has governmental intent to discriminate against a particular faith and its adherents been so plain,” ACLU attorneys argued in a complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, about 13 miles outside the nation’s capital.

The lawsuit, one of dozens filed since the president signed his executive order on Jan. 27, arrived as attorneys for the administration prepared to defend the decree before a federal appeals court panel in San Francisco. That tribunal heard the U.S. appeal of a Seattle judge’s decision temporarily blocking the measure nationwide.

U.S. District Judge James Robart was convinced by Washington state’s and Minnesota’s arguments that the executive order harmed their residents “in areas of employment, education, business, family relations and freedom to travel.” Government lawyers contend Robart has no authority to second-guess the president on matters of national security.

For Questions and Answers on the legal battle over the order, click here.

The ACLU filed suit on behalf of the International Refugee Assistance Project, the faith-based refugee resettlement agency HIAS and individuals. The complaint seeks a court order declaring the ban unconstitutional and barring its enforcement.

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the Maryland suit. Cases have also been filed in Boston, Brooklyn, New York, and Alexandria, Virginia.

The case is International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, 17-cv-00361, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Greenbelt).

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