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Press Release

Brennan Center Files Suit to Stop Trump’s Third ‘Muslim Ban’

On Friday, the Brennan Center filed suit to halt President Trump’s third attempt to institute the “Muslim Ban” promised during his presidential campaign, on behalf of six American Muslim plaintiffs for whom the order has devastating consequences.

October 10, 2017

On Friday, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law filed suit to halt the implementation of President Trump’s third attempt to institute the “Muslim Ban” promised during his presidential campaign. Presidential Proclamation 9645, issued on September 24, 2017, like its predecessors targets Muslim countries, five of which – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – were covered by the original ban.  

The action was filed on behalf of six American Muslim plaintiffs for whom the proclamation has devastating consequences, including:

  • Ohio State Professor Eblal Zakzok fled Syria after being tortured by the ruling regime. He was granted asylum, along with his wife and three of his children. His eldest daughter, Turkie, was not permitted to come with them since she was over 21. She has been living in Turkey as a refugee, where she faces constant danger and the risk of being sent back to war-torn Syria. Prof. Zakzok has filed papers that will allow Turkie to join her parents and siblings in Ohio. Because of the ban, their family will remain separated.
  • Fahed Muqbil, an American citizen residing in Mississippi, is married to a Yemeni national with whom he has two daughters. Their youngest daughter, who like her father is an American citizen, was born with a severe birth defect and has required intensive medical treatment in the United States, but her mother has been unable to join her in the U.S. Muqbil’s petition to bring his wife to the United States and help care for her child, who she has not seen in five months, has been approved. Because of the ban, this mother may not be allowed to see her sick child.
  • Sumaya Hamadmad is an American citizen living in Ohio, whose sister, a Syrian national, lives in Jordan. Hamadmad’s sister has applied for a visa so she can participate in a research project at a U.S. university and visit her family. She has never been inside Syria, but because of the ban she won’t be able to pursue this opportunity or see her sister.

“The stories of the six Americans in the lawsuit are only a small sampling of the thousands whose families would be torn apart if the Muslim ban is allowed to move forward,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program. “It separates a mother from her critically ill child, an American citizen receiving medical care in the United States. It leaves a daughter alone and endangered in war-torn Syria. It blocks the sister of an American citizen from accepting offers of academic collaboration in the United States. The harms that plaintiffs would suffer make plain the urgent need for the courts to enjoin its enforcement.”
“This is about religious animus, not national security. The U.S. already has the most rigorous visa vetting procedures in the world,” said Michael Price, senior counsel in the Liberty & National Security Program. “National security does not justify a blanket ban on travel from the targeted countries. It is nothing more than a third attempt to fulfill a campaign pledge to ban Muslims from the United States.”

The case, filed in Maryland federal district court, will be heard alongside two similar lawsuits pending before Judge Theodore Chuang: International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump and Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump. Oral argument will be held on for Monday, October 16, on motions for a preliminary injunction to stop enforcement of the new ban.
Joining the Brennan Center in bringing this lawsuit are the Council on American Islamic Relations and Jethro Eisenstein of the law firm of Profeta & Eisenstein.

Read the full lawsuit from the Brennan Center for Justice in Zakzok v. Trump.

Read the Brennan Center’s report on Extreme Vetting & the Muslim Ban.

The Brennan Center will be hosting a public event, ‘Extreme Vetting and the Muslim Ban,’ on October 11 in New York City. Click here for details.

 For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292–8381 or