September 19, 2017
The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA) joined its affiliated national bar, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), and 61 national and local Asian Pacific American bar associations in filing an amicus brief in the consolidated cases, Trump v. State of Hawai`i and Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, before the U.S. Supreme Court. Together these Asian Pacific American bar associations urged the Court to support the injunction of President Trump’s March 6, 2017, revised executive order barring refugees and individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“The significant number of national, local, and state Asian Pacific American bar associations from around the country that joined our brief is a testament to the consensus in the legal community that the order is discriminatory and unlawful. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association stands by its mission and policy resolutions and is proud to have challenged the revised executive order from the initial lawsuit brought in Hawai`i all the way to the Supreme Court,” said NAPABA President Cyndie M. Chang. “We are a diverse legal community that values inclusion. As a community, we have experienced the harms of exclusionary laws and we will continue to oppose this anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant order. We urge the Supreme Court to strike it down.”
“AABA stands as one with NAPABA and its fellow APA Bar Associations in this amicus brief in the Supreme Court,” said AABA President Miriam Kim. “The executive order, with its renewed ban on refugees and individuals from six Muslim-majority countries, 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.”
The Trump Administration’s appeal arises from two challenges to the revised executive order. Both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a per curiam ruling, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in a 10-3 en banc ruling, maintained respective lower courts’ blocks on the revised executive order. NAPABA filed amicus briefs, endorsed by 43 Asian Pacific American bar associations, including AABA, in both circuits urging them to uphold the lower court injunctions.
The Supreme Court amicus brief describes decades of statutory exclusion of citizens of 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 race. 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 and AABA argue that President Trump’s revised order, with its anti-Muslim underpinnings, violates the unambiguous prohibition on discrimination established by Congress.
The Supreme Court will hear the case on October 10, 2017, in Washington D.C.
Read the amicus brief here.