College Students File Lawsuit Over Muslim Ban

Three student visa holders barred from traveling file suit to overturn Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries.

Jessica Christian/SF Examiner

The fight against President Trump’s controversial travel ban on Muslim immigrants has moved from the airports to the courtrooms. The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of three California students who’ve been barred from international travel, arguing that the travel ban is a violation of religious freedom.

The lawsuit was filed a Northern District of California federal court on Thursday, February 2, just one day before Justice Department admitted in court that more than 100,000 visas have been revoked because of the order. The executive order, signed on Friday, January 27, bans individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States.

“The federal government has made it clear that it intends to favor Christian immigrants over Muslims in making decisions about who to detain, interrogate, deport, or entirely refuse entry,” ACLU of Northern California attorney Julia Mass said in a statement. “We are a diverse society. American Muslims, immigrants and U.S.-born alike, are part of the fabric of this nation.”

One of the students named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit is a Stanford freshman who is now unable to leave the country to visit her husband in Yemen. Another is a UC-Berkeley Ph.D candidate student confronted with losing his student visa and Fortune 500 company job offer. The third is a Grossmont College student who is now banned from reentering the United States.

Unlike most class-action lawsuits, the plaintiffs in this case are not asking for money. The students are simply seeking the right to travel outside the United States, and the ACLU is asking the court to declare that the travel ban is unconstitutional and should not be enforced. The ACLU has filed numerous similar lawsuits in multiple states since the ban was enacted.

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