News & Resources

Federal Court Rules Muslim Ban Challenge Can Continue


May 3, 2019


Henrike Dessaules, IRAP: 516-838-1269,

Alexandra Gilliland, NILC: 650-823-4575,   

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU: 212-284-7347,


GREENBELT, Md.  A federal court has rejected the Trump administration’s bid to outright dismiss IRAP v. Trump, a lawsuit challenging the president’s Muslim ban executive order that bars people from select Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang issued the ruling late yesterday. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Maryland, National Immigration Law Center, and International Refugee Assistance Project are challenging the ban on behalf of HIAS, IRAP, the Middle East Studies Association, Yemeni American Merchants Association, and the Arab American Association of New York.

The ruling allows the plaintiffs to continue their challenge on constitutional claims, emphasizing that the facts presented by the plaintiffs “support a conclusion that the Proclamation was issued for the illegitimate purpose of advancing fear and hatred toward Muslims and to impose a particular legal disadvantage on them.”

The ban was blocked multiple times by the courts, but was allowed to take effect after the Supreme Court ruled for the administration in another case challenging the ban. IRAP v. Trump was then remanded to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

In response to this decision, plaintiffs and counsel in IRAP v. Trump issued the following statements:

Justin Cox, senior supervising attorney at the litigation department of the International Refugee Assistance Project: “We’re thrilled with the court’s decision to continue our challenge to the Muslim ban. This harmful and discriminatory policy is hurting Muslim families every day by keeping them apart. We will continue the fight to prove to the court that this policy is illegal and inconsistent with the fundamental values of our Constitution.”

Judith Tucker, president of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA): “Once again a federal court has reaffirmed what we have been saying from the very beginning — President Trump’s attempts to impose a Muslim ban violate the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution specifically prohibits actions disfavoring or condemning any religion and offers fundamental protection for all of us — including MESA members.”

Esther Sung, staff attorney, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), co-counsel in the case: “This decision reiterates what we’ve known to be true about this ban since the start – it violates the rights of millions of people and is rooted in hate. In enacting the ban, the Trump Administration attempted to stoke fear and discriminate against Muslims. We look forward to continuing to work with the Plaintiffs to fight this Administration’s unconstitutional action.”

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project: “The Muslim ban is a national disgrace. Every day that it remains in effect, our country inflicts real pain on countless American Muslims because of President Trump’s open and ignorant prejudice against their religion. We will not stop fighting until the ban is gone.”

To view the press release, click here.

International Refugee Assistance Project