Nearly two months have passed since we last blogged about the ever-unfolding story of President Trump's Muslim Ban. Time for an update!
The Latest on Trump's Muslim Ban(s)
On August 5, the ACLU of Utah and other community partners visited with our neighbors at the Muslim Community Center in Cottonwood Heights. We provided an update on our legal challenges to President Trump's Muslim Ban, as well as information about how to respond to workplace discrimination.
We thought we'd share those same updates on the Muslim Ban with the broader community through this post. If you need to get up to speed on what occurred between January and June, check out that previous blog here.
We are pleased to report that most of the news about the travel ban is pretty good.
As we predicted back in June, the U.S. Supreme Court did indeed agree to hear arguments regarding the Executive Order in October, when the new Supreme Court session begins. When the court granted certiorari (the official term for when the Supreme Court accepts a case), the justices also allowed a partial implementation of the order.
After the Court's announcement, the Administration implemented elements of the travel ban on June 29. This didn't result in the same chaos at ports of entry that we saw in January, when the first Muslim Ban went into effect. The impact of this latest implementation has been seen primarily in a limitation on the issuance of visas.
Legal challenges were filed to challenge the parameters of this implementation, of course. On July 13, a district court in Hawaii expanded the restrictions on how the government could implement elements of the order. Specifically, this ruling allowed additional family members and refugees working with resettlement agencies to come to the U.S.
On July 19, the U.S. Supreme Court, pending 9th Circuit consideration, partially upheld the order regarding family member relationships and partially stayed the order regarding resettlement agency relationships.
The overall impact of these rulings has been that most individuals who would have been prevented from travelling to the U.S. under the original parameters of President Trump's revised Executive Order (what we called Muslim Ban 2.0), will be able to enter the country. Some people who would have been eligible to receive visas to travel to the U.S. before January 2017, will likely not be able to receive them now.
We will keep a close eye on any developments related to the Muslim Ban and its many legal challeges, and we'll all be waiting to hear those oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in October.
Meanwhile, the ACLU had another victory in a related case: our lawsuit to force Customs & Border Protection (CPB) to release information about the implementation of the original Executive Order (Muslim Ban 1.0), which caused so much distress and confustion at U.S. ports of entry over the weekend of January 27, 2017.
Thirteen different lawsuits were filed by ACLU affiliates all over the nation in April. The ACLU of Utah teamed up with the ACLU of Hawaii and the ACLU of Northern California to push for information out of the regional CBP office that covers all three of our states.
The federal government asked the courts to 1) combine all the thirteen different lawsuits into one lawsuit and 2) move the court venue to Washington, D.C. We opposed both these requests, as we firmly believe that each lawsuit pertains to a different region, and each CPB region clearly interpreted and implemented the Executive Order in very different ways. Thus, each lawsuit should be heard in the appropriate district court for the various regions in which lawsuits were filed.
This month, we learned that both of the government's requests were denied. The individual lawsuits will be allowed to go forward as the thirteen unique lawsuits they are, and they will be heard in the appropriate jurisdiction.
A final note...about No Fly Lists.
Many of our supporters and members contacted us with concern when a local imam, Imam Yussef Abdi of Madina Masjid in Salt Lake City, was prevented from returning home to Utah after a trip to Kenya. Apparently, the imam had been placed on a "No Fly List" in Kenya.
We were all relieved that Imam Abdi was finally able to come home and reunite with his family, thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) and the Utah-based Refugee Justice League.
Some of our partners were confused as to why a "No Fly List" was being used, when the Muslim Bans were supposed to be on hold. The "No Fly List" is a phenomenon that is completely separate from the 2017 Trump Travel Bans.
The ACLU has been involved in legal challenges to the use of government "No Fly Lists" for more than a decade. These lists are still in use, but there are now supposed to be processes for individuals to petition to be removed from those lists.
If you think are on a government No Fly List, there are some things you can do. Check out this information, compiled by the ACLU in the aftermath of our legal challenges to government No Fly Lists, to learn more.