Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
April 1, 2017
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) filed a friend-of-the-court brief (attached here) in one of the main federal lawsuits challenging President Trump’s March 6th Executive Order (EO) to temporarily freeze the issuance of visas to certain previously designated terror-risk countries. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of several taxpayer-funded refugee-lobby organizations by the American Civil Liberties Union and the George Soros-funded National Immigration Law Center.
In the case of International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, several associations, individuals and three purported classes of aliens sought and obtained from a Maryland district court a nationwide preliminary injunction (PI) against the EO’s implementation.
On March 16th, Judge Theodore Chuang found that the plaintiffs had legal standing to challenge the EO because the national security EO caused them ‘psychological trauma’ and temporarily barred their foreign-national relatives from entering the country. Further, Judge Chuang found that the EO was motivated by anti-Muslim animus and therefore likely violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
In its brief filed yesterday, IRLI urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to overturn the judge’s ruling and reverse his nationwide block against the temporary visa-freeze. IRLI argued that Judge Chuang’s March 16th decision ignores “a large body of Supreme Court precedents establishing that, in First Amendment challenges, courts should give no more than limited scrutiny to presidential directives in the area of war, foreign relations, and the admission of aliens.”
IRLI also argued that the lower court judge had a “flawed understanding” of the INA’s “comprehensive statutory scheme.” As the brief carefully explains, the comprehensive statutory scheme for excluding foreign residents at the border by executive proclamation derives from the complete or “plenary” power assigned in the Constitution to Congress, a power which has for decades been delegated to the President. Judge Chuang, however, improperly narrowed this power and failed to construe it in harmony with the design of the INA as a whole. IRLI also called the appeals court’s attention to numerous other distinct provisions in the INA that authorize the President to implement the EO, provisions which were completely ignored by the judge.
Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s Executive Director, commented, “Congress has absolute authority over immigration and it has delegated to the President broad authority to control the entry of aliens into the United States in order to protect American interests.” Wilcox continued, “This lawsuit, like the others, has no merit under law. As long as anti-borders advocates, like the ACLU, continue to file lawsuits, IRLI will intervene and fight for the security and sovereignty of the American people.”