Immigrant-rights groups went on the offensive in Seattle on Monday and filed a sweeping class-action challenge to President Trump’s executive order.
Immigrant-rights groups, fresh from a successful challenge to President Trump’s restrictions on refugees and immigrants from majority-Muslim countries, went on the offensive Monday and filed an attack against the law.
The six plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, include two U.S. citizens, a lawful permanent resident and their children who are some of the seven predominantly Muslim countries whose immigrants Trump’s executive order has barred.
They claim the law violates their constitutional rights and immigrants can’t be discriminated against due to their race, place of origin or religion.
The order has thwarted the plaintiffs’ legal attempts to reunite with their families, the lawsuit alleges.
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The attorneys claim that, in the three days since it was signed, Trump’s order has “shattered the plaintiffs’ lives and their chances for being reunited, as well as the lives and reunification prospects of the scores of similarly situated families.”
The proposed class-action lawsuit was filed by attorneys from the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project; the Boston-based National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild and the American Immigration Council in Washington, D.C.
It names as defendants President Trump; acting Secretary of State Tom Shannon; Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly; Lori Scialabba, the acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey.
The plaintiffs include:
• A U.S. citizen who lives in Seattle and her 6-year-old son, who is a citizen of Somalia, who has a pending immigration visa and is now barred from entering the country under Trump’s order.
• A Syrian citizen and Seattle resident who is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., and her 16-year-old son, who lives in Syria and has a pending visa application;
• A U.S. citizen from Los Banos, Calif., and his 12-year-old daughter, a citizen of Yemen, with an approved immigrant visa.
The lawsuit challenges the legality of a provision in the Trump executive order that immigration groups allege “abruptly suspended immigrant visa processing for nationals of seven predominantly Muslim countries, and prohibited their entry into the U.S.”
The countries are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya.
The lawsuit claims dozens of other immigrant families in the U.S. are affected, and it seeks an injunction to prevent the administration from implementing the order.
Earlier Monday, NWIRP dismissed a lawsuit it filed Saturday morning to prevent Homeland Security from deporting two men — citizens of Yemen and Sudan — who had arrived in Seattle. The men were held overnight but released Sunday after immigration lawyers obtained an emergency temporary restraining order to stop the deportation. Thousands of protesters converged on Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to protest the action.
Monday’s new lawsuit comes amid turmoil between the White House and the highest levels at the Department of Justice, where acting U.S. Attorney Sally Yates ordered her trial attorneys not to defend challenges to Trump’s executive order in court. Trump fired Yates on Monday.
Emily Langlie, spokeswoman for Seattle U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes, referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., which did not return a telephone message seeking comment.