On Monday, May 8, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, heard oral argument in IRAP v. Trump. The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center had filed the suit on behalf of IRAP, along with HIAS, the Middle East Studies Association, and affected individuals, against both the original and the revised executive order preventing travel from six majority Muslim countries and severely curtailing the refugee resettlement program.
Before the hearing, dozens of individuals and representatives from advocacy organizations could be seen marching outside the courthouse and protesting against the Muslim ban. IRAP’s Co-founder and Director, Becca Heller, addressed the rally to remind them of why we are fighting the ban and to thank them for “showing up.”
At 2:30 pm the case was heard by an en banc panel of judges. Omar Jadwat of the ACLU argued the case for IRAP, and the government was represented by Jeffrey B. Wall, the acting U.S. solicitor general. The ruling of the 13 judges (two judges had recused themselves) will determine whether the travel ban portion of the executive order will remain blocked, as ordered by a federal judge in Maryland on March 16.
At a press conference after the hearing, Becca Heller said: “The president cannot use religion as a proxy for discriminatory policies against immigrants. He cannot enact xenophobic and anti-immigrant actions … and he cannot cite national security as a justification for something that is basically just the embodiment of the promise he made throughout his campaign and throughout his presidency: to ban an entire religion from coming into the United States.”