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Press Release: IRAP Vows to Continue Fighting Unconstitutional Travel Ban

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

March 6, 2017


Henrike Dessaules



(New York, NY) – The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) at the Urban Justice Center thoroughly rejects the revised executive order as a transparent attempt to merely reinstate the Muslim ban in a way courts will continue to reject as blatantly unconstitutional.

The order, signed by President Trump today, is meant to replace the original travel ban, which was temporarily suspended by a Seattle judge, a decision upheld unanimously by the 9th Circuit Court. In their ruling, the three judges expressed their concerns that the ban likely violated due process and may violate the Constitution’s ban on disfavoring one religious group. They also specifically referred to the lack of evidence “that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.”

The new order explicitly excludes green card holders, scraps the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and removes Iraq from its list of temporarily banned countries, but upholds the ban on Iranians, Libyans, Syrians, Somalis, Sudanese, and Yemenis and the annual refugee cap of 50,000 resettlement slots. These revisions fail to address many of the judges’ concerns, including proof of the ban’s relevance for protecting national security, or any evidence that it is not motivated by anti-Muslim animus. In light of the Administration’s disregard of these ongoing concerns about the ban’s constitutionality, IRAP vows – alongside its partners and allies – to continue fighting the order in the courts and on the front-lines at airports and other ports of entry.

Becca Heller, IRAP’s Director, said: “The new executive order fails to address the key complaint brought forth by IRAP and many others: that it specifically targets Muslims and is therefore unconstitutional. This is a pathetic attempt at disguising its true purpose, but what was said during the campaign can’t be unsaid. When the outcome is the same – thousands of primarily Muslim refugees and immigrants will be banned from entering the country – we must assume that the administration has not changed its intentions.”

Betsy Fisher, IRAP’s Policy Director, added: “There is still no evidence that would support the administration’s claim that this order is meant to protect our national security. On the contrary, our country’s foremost national security leaders have spoken out against this ban as a threat to our safety. The new order is as misguided and problematic as the previous one.”

“What’s more, Iraqi refugees who are under threat due to their U.S. affiliation are still left in danger. The majority of Iraqis with U.S. affiliations enter the United States through the Refugee Admissions Program. The temporary suspension of the program, as required by this order, will affect thousands of Iraqis who worked with the United States and are fearing for their lives,” Fisher concluded.

IRAP, which is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit IRAP v. Trump that challenges the executive order in its entirety, will file an amended complaint that will take the new developments into consideration.

“The new order is just an attempt to make the same old policy – to ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. – palatable to the courts,” Heller added. “This is effectively their third or fourth try (counting the election promise to “ban Muslims,” which then shifted to “extreme vetting”) to come up with a Muslim ban that passes constitutional muster, but hiding behind newly invented evidence allegations and altered legal language does not make this anymore constitutional.”

To view the press release, click here: IRAP VOWS TO CONTINUE FIGHTING UNCONSTITUTIONAL TRAVEL BAN Press Release Mar 6 2017

International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center