MIRA celebrates federal court orders blocking travel ban

BOSTON, March 16, 2017 – Federal courts have blocked the Trump administration’s travel ban, finding that even though the new Executive Order (EO) is slightly different, it is motivated by religious bias, just like the EO that was struck down in January.

The U.S. District Court for Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order yesterday after finding that the new EO, signed on March 6,  clearly violates of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The court issued a national order blocking the administration from halting the issuance of visas to refugees and citizens of six Muslim countries.

This morning, the U.S. District Court for Maryland issued a similar decision, blocking portions of the EO. Both courts relied largely on the administration’s own statements as evidence of that the travel ban was motivated by a clear anti-Muslim bias.

“We are heartened to see the federal courts continue to stand up for the Constitution and block this administration’s bigoted and unlawful actions,” said Eva Millona, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “The travel ban goes against everything we stand for as Americans: religious freedom, equality and common decency. No matter how much the  administration tries to cover its tracks with neutral language, it cannot escape its many public anti-Muslim statements. These court orders are a victory for the Constitution and for American values.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has joined Washington and Minnesota in a similar lawsuit against this EO pending before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. While that suit led to the Temporary Restraining Order stopping the January 27 EO, it is possible that the Washington court might suspend that hearing until there is a final decision in the Hawaii case. “We are grateful for Attorney General Healey’s strong leadership on this issue,” Millona said.