A federal judge ruled Saturday that President Trump cannot enforce his entry ban against refugees from certain countries, which prohibited their entry into the U.S. It’s the latest setback to his administration’s various Islamophobic “Muslim ban” proposals.
In October, Trump ordered a suspension of entry by refugees from 11 countries: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those countries previously made up more than 40 percent of all refugees the U.S. receives, and all but two of them are predominantly Muslim countries. There has been a sharp decline in the number of refugees admitted since the order was put in place. The ban also paused a family reunification program.
U.S. District Judge James Robart — a George W. Bush appointee — ruled that the administration could proceed with the 90-day security review that was part of the order, but could not suspend refugees in the interim if those refugees have bona fide connections to the U.S. The plaintiffs in the case include a Somali man who was admitted as a refugee but whose wife and children have not been, two Iraqi men who served the U.S. military as interpreters, and a transgender woman trying to flee persecution in Egypt, where there has been a crackdown on LGBTQ people.
Enoka Herat, an attorney for ACLU of Washington, described the ban as “ripping apart families and heartlessly keeping refugees who have survived traumatic situations from reuniting with loved ones.”
Robart noted in his decision that many former national security officials had said not only that the ban does nothing to help national security, and that it may, in fact, harm it.