Civil liberties groups filed the first lawsuit Saturday morning challenging President Trump’s pause on migration from countries troubled by terrorism, saying the halt has already snared two Iraqis who’d already been approved to come to the U.S., and who fear for their lives back home.
The lawsuit says that when lawyers for one of the men demanded to speak to the person responsible for keeping them out, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers told them they would have to take it up with new chief: “Call Mr. Trump.”
One of the two men refused entry is an interpreter and engineer who was to be admitted under a program rewarding those who helped the U.S. efforts in Iraq, at risk to themselves. The man’s family was admitted, but he was detained.
The other man was coming to the U.S. to rejoin his wife and seven-year-old son, who were admitted as refugees three years ago.
Both men were denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York in the hours after Mr. Trump issued his executive order Friday.
The lawsuit said the Trump order is unconstitutional because it discriminates based on someone’s country of birth, and “was substantially motivated by animus” toward Muslims.
“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
Mr. Trump’s new policy pauses the refugee program and halts admissions from countries troubled by terrorism, including Syria and Iraq.
The pause is intended to give the new administration a chance to improve screening, Mr. Trump said in the executive order.
The order makes good on his campaign pledge to impose “extreme vetting” of those coming to the U.S.
Human rights groups have called it a “Muslim ban,” saying they believe that’s what Mr. Trump was really trying to achieve with his policy.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at email@example.com.
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