Press Release

AALDEF deplores the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Muslim ban

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The Asian American Legal Defense and Education deplores the U.S. Supreme Court opinion released today in Trump v. Hawai’i as a setback for this country’s immigrants, refugees, and their families. By a 5-4 vote, the Court upheld the discriminatory targeting and exclusion of nationals from mostly Muslim-majority countries, ruling that the president did not overstep his broad powers under the immigration laws.

Margaret Fung, AALDEF Executive Director, said: “The Court’s decision today will be judged harshly for its unquestioning acceptance of a discriminatory policy motivated by religious bigotry.” She noted that Justice Sotomayor, in a strongly worded dissent citing the amicus brief joined by AALDEF and other civil rights groups, agreed with the majority opinion denouncing the Korematsu v. U.S. case as “gravely wrong the day it was decided.” However, she added that “the formal repudiation of a shameful precedent is laudable and long overdue. But it does not make the majority’s decision here acceptable or right.”

This case centered around an injunction that was issued by the federal district court in Hawai’i blocking President Trump’s executive order of Jan. 27, 2017, prohibiting the admission to the U.S. of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. After the original order was successfully challenged in several federal courts, the third iteration, Muslim ban 3.0, eventually banned, with certain exemptions and waivers, the entry of nationals from the following seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

Annie Wang, a staff attorney in AALDEF’s Immigrant Access to Justice program, said: “As an Asian American civil rights organization, we are all too aware of the direct thread running from the Chinese exclusion laws of the 1880s and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II to the president’s travel ban. We view this policy as part of the administration’s racist anti-immigrant agenda and are committed to continuing the long-term fight against the Muslim ban and other policies that separate families.”

For more information, contact:
Annie J. Wang, Staff Attorney
212.966.5932 x213

Ken Kimerling, Legal Director
212.966.5932 x203