Press Release

AALDEF joins amicus brief in challenge to revised Trump travel ban in Hawaii district court; UPDATE: 9th Cir. hearing on May 15


Today, the federal district court in Honolulu will hold a hearing at 9:30 am Hawaii time (3:30 pm ET) on the State of Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging Trump’s revised travel ban, which temporarily suspends U.S. refugee admissions and migrants from six Muslim-majority countries. Executive Order 13780, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” was issued on March 6, 2017 and takes effect on March 16 at 12:01 am, replacing the administration’s earlier executive order issued on Jan. 27, 2017.

AALDEF joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality (Korematsu Center), the children of litigants in the Japanese relocation and incarceration cases from World War II, civil rights organizations, and national bar associations of color, in an amicus brief filed on March 10 in State of Hawai`i and Ismail Elshikh v. Trump et al. Pro bono counsel on the brief is Akin Gump.

This lawsuit contends that the Executive Order violates the First and Fifth Amendments, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The State of Hawaii asserts that the travel ban will disrupt the University of Hawaii’s recruitment of students and faculty, damage the state’s tourism industry, and prevent Hawaii residents, such as plaintiff Ismail Elshikh, from reuniting with their relatives from the banned Muslim-majority countries.

AALDEF’s amicus brief asserts that courts can and should review executive branch actions on immigration. The Justice Department’s reliance on the “plenary power doctrine” to defend the new executive order is based on a string of overtly racist and outdated cases, including discredited precedents allowing the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans by executive order. The amicus brief contends that these arguments should have been rejected then, and they have been rejected recently by the 9th Circuit and the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in orders blocking the previous Jan. 27 travel ban.

In addition to pro bono counsel Akin Gump, Hawaii counsel on the amicus brief include Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing and Eric Yamamoto of the University of Hawai`i Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.

Read the amicus brief here.

UPDATE: On May 15, 2017, a 9th Circuit panel heard the government’s appeal of the Hawaii district court’s preliminary injunction blocking the travel ban nationwide. Our amicus brief in the 9th Circuit can be downloaded here.

For more information, contact:

Ken Kimerling, Legal Director
212.966.5932 x203

Margaret Fung, Executive Director
212.966.5932 x201