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Federal Judge Stays Executive Order on Immigration

Muslim Ban protest in Minneapolis
Protest against Muslim ban in Minneapolis. Photo by Fibbonaci Blue

By Ed Diokno
President Donald Trump’s attempt to restrict Muslims from coming to the U.S. received a setback late Friday when a U.S. District Court judge in Seattle granted a temporary restraining order against the executive order.

“The Constitution prevailed today,” said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “No one is above the law — not even the president.”


Unlike the earlier court-ordered stays by courts in other parts of the country, Judge James Robart went to the core of the executive order, requiring that the travel restrictions be stayed immediately and his decision go into effect nationwide.


Federal officers are now barred from enforcing the parts of the ban that target immigrants from those seven countries and refugees, and that grant exemptions to refugees on the basis of their religion.


At the preliminary hearing in response to Washington state’s attorney general’s lawsuit against the executive order, Judge Robart pointed out that no terror attack has been carried out on U.S. soil by people from any of the countries in question.

AG Ferguson filed the lawsuit Monday, calling Trump’s order “illegal.”
The White House vowed to appeal the decision immediately.
“At the earliest possible time, the Department of Justice intends to file an emergency stay of this outrageous order and defend the executive order of the President, which we believe is lawful and appropriate,” press secretary Sean Spicer said in a written statement Friday night. “The president’s order is intended to protect the homeland and he has the constitutional authority and responsibility to protect the American people.”


Trump’s executive order bars most travelers or refugees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days, with some exceptions.


Since Trump signed the executive order last Friday, demonstrations have popped up at airports throughout the country. Judges in Los Angeles, Seattle, Virginia and New York issued temporary stays on the parts of the order that affected some of the impacted travelers but did not affect the the entire order.


The hastily-put together executive order caused confusion among Homeland Security personnel and airport police who apparently were not given guidelines on how to enforce it.


The executive order has been severely criticized by the AAPI community.


“We have been resettling refugees in America safely for decades – and Trump’s claim that refugees will hurt American communities is simply not true,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif. “Welcoming immigrants and refugees – and welcoming people of all backgrounds and faiths – is at the core of who we are as a nation. And this diversity has strengthened, not weakened our country.”
“The Asian American and Pacific Islander community has the responsibility to remind our nation ‘never again,’ and we have that privilege to speak on behalf of our ancestors who could not come to this country, to our ancestors who were discriminated against, who were interned and who were profiled, and who may not have the opportunity to tell their own story,” said Christopher Kang, National Director, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA).

“We have to remind people of what refugees bring to this country and why the entire world demands that refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution be accepted and given safe haven,”


Last Monday, The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed its own lawsuit against the executive order in Virginia. “Donald Trump’s executive order is not based on evidence, national security or on hard facts. It is based on islamophobia, fear mongering and anti-Muslim prejudice.” said Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Executive Director.


Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.


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