April 26, 2017
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) has joined 42 Asian Pacific American bar associations in the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) amicus briefing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to support the preliminary injunction of President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States.
The Trump Administration’s appeal in the Ninth Circuit case, State of Hawaii v. Trump, arises from the first legal challenge to the revised executive order, which was brought on March 7 on behalf of the State and Ismail Elshikh, Imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. On March 15, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii granted the temporary restraining order, which he converted into a preliminary injunction on March 29 to extend the block on the travel and refugee restrictions. The Ninth Circuit will hear argument in the case on May 15.
The lawsuit in the Fourth Circuit, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, was brought on March 10 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Maryland and the National Immigration Law Center in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on behalf of HIAS, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the Middle East Studies Association and individuals, including U.S. citizens, impacted by the Muslim ban. U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang issued the injunction on March 16. The Fourth Circuit will hear argument in the case on May 8.
“The unprecedented involvement in this amicus brief across NAPABA’s national network speaks of our collective investment in ensuring this executive order is permanently struck down by the courts,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “Asian Pacific Americans have historically been targeted by exclusionary laws, giving us first-hand perspectives on the harms this order inflicts upon Muslim and immigrant communities. NAPABA’s community has stepped up to strongly oppose this attack on core American rights and values.”
The amicus brief filed in both cases describes decades of statutory exclusion of people from Asian and Pacific Island countries under early U.S. immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their nationality. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute. NAPABA argues that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates the unambiguous prohibition against discrimination established by Congress.
“AABA is proud to join NAPABA and our sister bar organizations in this amicus brief against the discriminatory Executive Order, ” said AABA President Miriam Kim. “The revised Executive Order, just like the prior order that was struck down by the Ninth Circuit, bears a painful resemblance to historical bans on Asian immigration. We will continue to work to do everything we can to ensure that the order is permanently struck down. We stand with the immigrants, refugees, and families impacted by the order.”
AABA is one of the largest Asian American bar associations in the nation and one of the largest minority bar associations in the State of California. From its inception in 1976, AABA and its attorneys have been actively involved in civil rights issues and community service. AABA is an affiliate of NAPABA, the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of almost 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state and local bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government. NAPABA is a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities.