Going into the latest court battle over President Trump’s revised travel ban, government lawyers were well aware that the administration’s incendiary — many say bigoted — rhetoric about Muslims would be a liability.
Before the initial executive order was even issued, opponents had pulled together a list of public statements by Trump and his surrogates calling for a “Muslim ban” and blaming Islam for the nation’s problems. The states that challenged the order in court did the same, saying the remarks were evidence that the administration intended to discriminate against Muslims.
In response, the government’s lawyers asked a federal judge to, effectively, look the other way. Instead of focusing on Trump’s past remarks, they argued, the judge should only consider the plain language of the revised order in deciding whether it violated the Constitution.
But in his blistering opinion Wednesday freezing the new travel ban, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson said statements by Trump and his senior advisers were precisely what called its legality into question.
[Appeals court judges rebuke Trump for ‘personal attacks’ on judiciary, ‘intimidation’]
“These plainly-worded statements, made in the months leading up to and contemporaneous with the signing of the Executive Order, and, in many cases, made by the Executive himself, betray the Executive Order’s stated secular purpose,” Watson wrote.
FULL ARTICLE AND VIDEO FROM THE WASHINGTON POST
President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries experienced nearly universal defeat in the federal courts. On Monday, he issued a revised version of that order, but it still suffers from a fundamental, and fatal, flaw: It constitutes unlawful religious discrimination.
On the surface, this revised order looks different from the first version. It explicitly exempts Iraq from the travel ban, thus reducing the number of affected countries to six, as well as lawful permanent residents (that is, green card holders) and people who have visas. It no longer categorically bars Syrian refugees or includes a religious test to determine which refugees may enter the country. And in a marked departure from the earlier order, it goes into effect in 10 days, so that the chaos that unfolded in airports around the world when the January order became effective presumably won’t happen again.
These changes are, no doubt, intended to address the due process concerns that led the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to affirm a lower-court ruling that put a hold on part of the original order. But while these changes are important, they do not fix the core problem with the executive order: The administration is waging an all-out assault on Islam and Muslims.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
The night before, Reuters had reported that President Donald Trump would soon sign an executive order blocking visas for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and Africa. The move, an expression of the “Muslim ban” that Trump touted during his campaign, marooned Muslims legally working or studying in the United States and threatens to divide families who have relatives in their home countries.
Cochran is director of the Virginia chapter of Emerge USA, an organization founded in 2006 to help Muslims get involved in local politics across five states. It’s one of many organizations that American Muslims created in the aftermath of 9/11 to protect and advocate for their embattled community. That very morning, she was already set to travel to Richmond to meet with state lawmakers to communicate the concerns of Muslim Virginians.
If Trump keeps his campaign promises — and so far there’s every indication he will — the country may see a return to the excesses of the Bush era that saw American Muslims profiled, surveilled, harassed and marginalized. Trump’s administration is more openly anti-Muslim than any in history. Trump himself has stated that “Islam hates us”; his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has called Islamism a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people”; his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, once operated Breitbart, an alt-right news site known for anti-Muslim rhetoric.
Sixteen years ago, many American Muslims didn’t know where to turn for help. There was no Emerge USA for them to email. They had almost no political, social or cultural capital. Now they are far better prepared. That’s because American Muslims have learned to arm themselves, not with weapons but with the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. In the crucible of American society after 2001, Muslims have fully embraced the democratic ideals, expansive religious freedom and rich civil society that truly make America great.
FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW HAVEN REGISTER