Federal judge blocks Trump’s immigration ban

A federal judge on Saturday issued a temporary stay to block the federal government from carrying out President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and valid visa holders from seven predominately Muslim countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen – from entering the United States.

Read more: Trump bans refugees & Muslims from entering U.S.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly ordered the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to immediately halt all deportations and detentions of refugees and visitors impacted by Trump’s executive order.

“There is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will substantial and irreparable damage to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject to the Jan. 27, 2017 Executive Order,” wrote Donnelly, who found that there is a “strong likelihood” that Trump’s executive order violates the “Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution”.

Donnelly’s order was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two Iraqis – Hameed Khalid Darweesh, 53, and Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, 34 – who were detained by CBP upon their arrival at JFK International Airport in New York on Friday night.

Darweesh served as an interpreter for the U.S. military from 2003 to 2013, and as a result of his work for the American government, he received multiple death threats from terrorists and anti-American militias and he and his family were forced to flee Iraq. Darweesh was granted a Special Immigrant Visa through a program created by Congress in 2007 to “provide safety and refuge in the United States for Iraqis and Afghans who face or have faced serious threats on account of their faithful and valuable service to the United States.”

Brandon Friedman, who served in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, praised Darweesh’s service to American troops on Twitter.

“Guy literally spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq. He was one of the first to sign up in 2003. He is fearless,” Friedman wrote. “He’s from Iraq, but he’s done more for America than Donald Trump ever will. Hope the President has the decency to let him in.”

Alshawi worked as an accountant for Falcon Security Group, a U.S. contractor in Iraq, from 2006 to 2007. His brother, who also worked for Falcon Security Group, was killed by an IED. “Due to the family’s association with the U.S. military, insurgents thought that they were collaborators,” according to the lawsuit. Alshawi’s wife and son were granted entry to the U.S. as refugees in 2014 and Alshawi received a Follow to Join visa on Jan. 11, 2017. Alshawi has not seen his wife and son for three years.

The ACLU said both Darweesh and Alshawi were denied access to their attorneys while in CBP detention.

When their attorneys asked CPB agents, “Who is the person to talk to?” to see their clients, the CBP agents told the attorneys, “Mr. President. Call Mr. Trump.”

Learn More:

aclu.org: Stay order in Darweesh v. Trump 1.28.17 (PDF)

aclu.org: Darweesh v. Trump complaint 1.28.17 (PDF)

aclu.org: Darweesh v. Trump motion for class certification 1.28.17 (PDF)


aclu.org: Trump’s executive order to ban Muslims & refugees from entering the United States 1.27.17 (PDF)

WhatTheFolly.com: Trump bans refugees & Muslims from entering U.S.

aclu.org: ACLU and Other Groups Challenge Trump Immigration Ban After Refugees Detained at Airports Following Executive Order

aclu.org: Darweesh v. Trump

aclu.org: Federal court grants stay in challenge to Trump immigration ban