Count New York among the states challenging President Donald Trump’s “un-American” immigration ban.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, said his office has joined a lawsuit originally filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations that are taking a stand against Trump’s executive actions restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.
“As I’ve made clear: President Trump’s executive action is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
“I will continue to do everything in my power to not just fight this executive order, but to protect the families caught in the chaos sown by President Trump’s hasty and irresponsible implementation,” Schneiderman continued. He noted that his office would press upon the federal Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to release a complete list of travelers currently detained.
Trump’s executive actions have unleashed a torrent of lawsuits across the country. Washington state was the first to bring a suit against the White House, followed by Virginia and Massachusetts. Also suing Trump is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which on Monday filed a complaint in federal court in Virginia stating the order fulfills Trump’s “longstanding promise and boasted intent to enact a federal policy that overtly discriminates against Muslims and officially broadcasts a message that the federal government disfavors the religion of Islam, preferring all other religions instead.”
The measures signed by Trump on Friday temporarily halt refugee resettlement in the United States, ban Syrian refugees, and suspend immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Not impacted by the ban are religious minorities who live in the listed countries, most notably, Christians. The White House has argued that the restrictions are not a ban and don’t target Muslims, although when he was campaigning for president, Trump did indeed propose a sweeping ban of all non-citizen Muslims trying to enter the US.
Trump’s stringent immigration orders, which many Muslim advocacy groups view as Trump’s proposed Muslim ban taking shape, have represented a flashpoint for his days-old administration. Protesters have descended upon airports across the country and taken to the streets in the nation’s capital to demonstrate against the measures—which also impacted green card holders legally residing in the United States.
Criticism of Trump has come from far and wide.
Adding to the chorus on Wednesday was a group of United Nations human rights experts who, in a collective rebuke, expressed concern about the global risks posed by the ban.
“Such an order is clearly discriminatory based on one’s nationality and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants in a statement.
“The US recent policy on immigration also risks people being returned, without proper individual assessments and asylum procedures, to places where they risk being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws,” the statement continued.
Muslim Americans have expressed fear of increased Islamophobia here as a result of the immigration ban as they mourn the loss of six of their faithful in a terror attack by a right-wing student fanatic at a mosque in Quebec City last weekend. Canadian officials have reported an upswing in hate crimes following the fateful incident.
“His policies are threatening who we are as Americans,” CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said at a press conference on Monday, referring to Trump. “Those refugees who are fleeing war, persecution and violence; they need us the most.”
The lawsuits still have to wend their way through the judicial system. The ACLU, however, scored a victory for immigrants Saturday evening when a federal judge in Brooklyn issued a temporary injunction preventing travelers arriving at JFK from being deported.