April 19, 2017

ABA urges appeals courts to uphold rulings that halted revised immigration EOs

CHICAGO, April 19, 2017 — The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief Wednesday, asking the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court’s stay of enforcement of the presidential executive order imposing a travel ban on persons from six overwhelming Muslim countries.

The ABA brief, filed in support of a decision by a federal judge in Maryland, argues that the revised executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump on March 6 violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment and federal immigration laws, including the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.

On Friday, the ABA is expected to file a similar brief with the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering the Trump administration’s challenge of an injunction issued by a federal district court judge in Hawaii.

The ABA brief says that the powers entrusted in the president in the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act do not enable him “to override the 1965 act’s prohibition on national origin discrimination.” It also argues that “it is inconceivable” that the powers of the earlier law “could be used without some legitimate justification.”

The government’s argument restores the “discriminatory policy” Congress sought to ban in 1965, the ABA continued. “Moreover, it is a basic canon of statutory interpretation that a specific, later-enacted statute generally governs over an earlier, more general one,” the brief noted.

“The (Executive) Order, in short, appears to be an arbitrary exercise of executive power which harms not only the foreign nationals excluded from the United States, but disrupts close family, business or academic relationships that many American citizens and permanent residents have with these foreign nationals,” the brief said.

The ABA amicus brief in International Refuge Assistance Project v Donald J. Trump can be found here.

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