Trump v. Hawaii and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project
Trump v. Hawaii involves a challenge to the constitutionality of President Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban.’
Update: Hawaii v. Trump has been consolidated with Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, and is now on appeal to the Supreme Court. On September 19, 2017, the Brennan Center filed an amicus brief on behalf of seven Muslim American citizens and activists who have documented the impact of Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ Executive Order on the Muslim American community. Amici describe the ways the Order has precipitated an increase in discrimination, hate speech, and threats of violence against American Muslims. As leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, amici speak to both the statistically measurable rise in Islamophobia - anti-Muslim hate crimes in the first half of 2017 have spiked 91% compared to the same period in 2016 – and to personal experiences of harassment and hate speech directed at their community in the months following the issuance of the ‘Ban.’
Their stories illustrate the compelling ongoing harms suffered by the Muslim American community; and they ask the Court to recognize that the harms of the legitimization of discrimination will not be resolved by the mere expiration of the ban itself.
Read the Supreme Court Amicus Brief here.
The Brennan Center previously filed an amicus brief when the case was pending before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of four Muslim American citizens who would suffer personal and immediate harm from allowing the current version of the ban were to go into effect.
The Supreme Court had already prohibited the government from enforcing the ban against foreign nationals who possess a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the United States. But the government interpreted that ruling narrowly, issuing new guidance that would still ban “grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, fiancés, and any other ‘extended’ family members” on the theory that they are not “close” family. In July, a district court in Hawaii ruled that this definition “represents the antithesis of common sense” and prevented the government from enforcing it.
The Ninth Circuit amicus brief highlighted the stories of four American Muslims who have close familial relationships with relatives living in the six Muslim-majority countries targeted by the ban. Each of the amici wish to have their relatives visit them in the United States. And each would be unable to do so under the government’s unjustifiably narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court’s order:
• Adam Soltani, whose family in Iran will not be able to attend his brother Johan’s wedding in Oklahoma if the ban is implemented. This includes his grandmother, who helped raise the brothers.
• Asma Elhuni, whose Libyan aunts will be ineligible for visas to visit Asma in the U.S. under the ban, and thus unable to be a part of her children’s lives and continue to help with her mother’s care.
• Bassim Elkarra, whose relatives in Syria face severe and immediate danger due to the ongoing civil war and wish to visit Bassim and his wife in the United States. Basim and his wife would like them to visit the U.S. both for their safety and to permit their American children to come to know their roots, culture, language and history.
• Hassan Shibly, whose aunts and uncles in Syria would like to visit him in the United States – critically, as soon as possible considering the worsening situation in Syria which might make future travel untenable.
Amici represent just a sampling of the many American Muslims who would suffer immediate harms from the Trump administration’s new, restrictive guidance. If enforced, the guidelines would bar amici and many others like them from having family members visit in the United States, preventing them from forging family bonds, celebrating important milestones, and ensuring the safety of their families.
Amici are represented by the Brennan Center for Justice, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Profeta & Eisenstein.
Read the Ninth Circuit brief here.