Newsflash: Muslim American Citizens File Brief on Harms Caused by 'Muslim Ban'

August 3, 2017

NEWSFLASH: Center Submits Brief in ‘Muslim Ban’ Case on Behalf of Four Muslim-Americans Facing Demonstrable Harm

Today, four Muslim American citizens filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the ongoing litigation over the constitutionality of President Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban.’ Each of these individuals have close familial relationships with relatives living in one of the six Muslim-majority countries targeted by Trump’s order. Each wish to have their relatives visit them in the United States. And each would be unable to do so if the government’s latest version of the ban were implemented.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that the ban “may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” with a “close familial relationship” required for individuals. But the government interpreted this ruling too narrowly, issuing new guidance that it would still apply the ban to “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 members. Last month, a district court in Hawaii ruled that this definition “represents the antithesis of common sense” and prevented the government from enforcing it. The decision is now on appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

The amicus brief filed today highlights the stories of four Muslim American citizens who would be personally harmed by the government’s so-called “grandma ban”:

  • Adam Soltani, whose family in Iran will not be able to attend his brother’s August wedding in Oklahoma if the ban is implemented;
  • Asma Elhuni, whose aunts, currently caring for her mother in Egypt, will be ineligible for Visas to visit Asma in the U.S. under the ban;
  • Bassim Elkarra, whose relatives in Syria face severe and immediate danger due to the country’s ongoing civil war and wish to visit Bassim and his wife in the United States;
  • and 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.

The brief represents just a sampling of the personal, immediate harms that would befall American Muslims as a result of the Trump administration’s unjustifiably narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court’s order. It urges the Ninth Circuit to affirm the district court’s decision and allow the amici to reunite with their family in the United States.

Amici are represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Profeta & Eisenstein.

View the Brennan Center’s case page on State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh v. Donald Trump.

Read more about the Brennan Center’s work on Liberty & National Security.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292-8381 or naren.daniel@nyu.edu.

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