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MacArthur Justice Center and Muslim Advocates File Amicus Brief Challenging Refugee Ban 3.0

WASHINGTON D.C. – A federal district court in Seattle hearing a challenge to Trump’s latest ban on refugees now has before it a comprehensive record of President Trump’s intentions to ban Muslims from entering the country and the discriminatory, bigoted language he has used to advance this objective. The information is detailed in a friend-of-the-court brief, filed today by Muslim Advocates and the Roderick and Solange Macarthur Justice Center. The brief argues that the President’s latest executive actions—“Refugee Ban 3.0”—is the manifestation of his longstanding promise to ban Muslims from entering the country, which stems from his documented hatred of people of the Muslim faith.

Refugee Ban 3.0 must be understood in the context of the President’s longstanding vilification of Muslims. The ban suspends refugee admissions from eleven countries that comprise the majority of the Muslim refugees entering the United States. Nine of the eleven countries included in the ban have populations over 85% Muslim. These countries accounted for 80% of the Muslim immigrants to the United States and 80% of the refugees resettled from those countries have been Muslim.

“The President’s latest refugee order is—and always has been—an integral part of his pledge to discriminate against people of Muslim faith and stop them from entering the country,” said Amir H. Ali, Director of the MacArthur Justice Center’s Washington D.C. office. “It doesn’t take any effort to figure that out—the President and his Administration have told us as much. Letting them get away with that religious discrimination would be an affront to the Constitution.”

Curtailing the rights of Muslims, particularly in restricting entry to the country, has been a fundamental position of the President’s since the early days of his campaign, including his signature pledge to execute a “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. This was coupled with a continued equation of Muslims as terrorists evident in the same day message on “preventing Muslim immigration” sent to his millions of Twitter followers, explaining it as responding to the “extraordinary influx of hatred & danger coming into our country”. He subsequently that his ideal plan would be based on border officials asking “Are you Muslim?” and “if they said yes, they would not be allowed in the country”.

According to Sirine Shebaya, Senior Staff Attorney for Muslim Advocates, “Refugee Ban 3.0 is yet another iteration of Trump’s long-promised Muslim ban. It is a direct continuation of the first two Executive Orders, and both in text and in operation is clearly targeted at keeping Muslims out of the United States. Refugees, often fleeing war, bloodshed, and famine, are coming here seeking refuge and are thoroughly vetted by the long-in-place screening system. No other population is more deserving of our welcome. Through his refugee ban, Trump is attempting yet another maneuver to block Muslims from entering our country.”

President Trump has shown little regard for truth in his on-going efforts to discriminate against people of the Muslim faith, even actively disseminating false propaganda, in particular about Muslim migrants. As documented in the brief, he has praised a false story involving the mass murder of Muslims using pig blood, even after it was proven untrue. He also falsely proclaimed that thousands of new Jersey Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attacks. Last week, the President promoted three unverified videos published by a British anti-Muslim group supposedly depicting violence by Muslim people - at least one whom was proven shortly thereafter not to be Muslim – in order to inflame anti-Muslim bias.

“While the Department of Justice continues to argue that the President acts without any bias towards Muslims, it’s clear the exact opposite is true. The President has shown repeatedly that is willing and eager to use his official powers to pursue religious persecution. This is just the latest example.” said Ali.

The brief was filed in Jewish Family Services of Seattle v. Trump, a case currently pending in U.S. district court in the Western District of Washington.  The amicus brief is available here.

The MacArthur Justice Center is a not-for-profit organization founded by the family of J. Roderick MacArthur to advocate for human rights and social justice through litigation. MJC has represented clients facing myriad human rights and civil rights injustices, including issues of discrimination, the unlawful detention of foreign nationals, and the rights of marginalized groups in the American justice system.

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization formed in 2005, works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths. The issues at stake in this case directly relate to Muslim Advocates’ work fighting institutional discrimination against the American Muslim community, and its extensive work assisting individuals who are impacted by the travel and refugee bans.

Keywords: Amir Ali, Muslim Advocates, Refugee Ban

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