Lawyers representing Muslim groups have filed a lawsuit against US President Donald Trump’s travel ban against mainly Muslim-majority countries which will go into full effect later this month.
The suit was filed on Monday in a federal court in Maryland against Trump’s September proclamation limiting travel from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela.
Last month’s presidential proclamation was Trump’s third attempt at banning citizens of mainly Muslim-majority countries having failed twice previously following furious legal challenges from federal judges and human rights groups.
A previous bid failed on the grounds that it was discriminating against religious and national groups. The inclusion of North Korea and Venezuela on that list, argue critics, serves no purpose other than to conceal the president’s true intention as he promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his election campaign.
“It just shows how deeply held the animus is if you’re willing to inflict collateral damage on other groups just to justify the ban,” said Justin Cox, a lawyer with the National Immigration Law Centre, which also sued over the previous bans.
The latest challenge against the ban was made by the Iranian Alliance Across Borders (IAAB), along with Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Muslim Advocates. The groups also partnered with the National Iranian-American Council.
Lawyers representing the group say the ban violates an immigration law that prevents discrimination based on nationality. According to Matt Adams, a legal director of the Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project, attorneys are likely to argue that the new executive order continues to violate the anti-discrimination clause of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which bars authorities from rejecting immigrant visa applications on the basis of nation-based prejudice.
The suit, which is seeking a national injunction to block the ban before it takes effect on 19 October, was filed by US citizens facing the prospect of not being able to bring their partners into the UK if the ban is fully implemented.
Layers representing the group said “this is the most cruel and absurd of the three Muslim bans”.