1. Update
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Heartened by 4th Circuit Decision Upholding Suspension of Muslim Ban

By Rebecca Harris, Yasmine Taeb, May 25, 2017

FCNL welcomes the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to uphold a block on President Trump's March 6th executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries.

Protesters hold signs reading "Love Thy Neighbor."

Expressing doubts about the policy’s true intent and concern about its potential impact, judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit voted to uphold a block on the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban. This reprehensible and unconstitutional ban, contained in an executive order signed by President Trump on March 6th, would bar the entry of individuals from six Muslim-majority countries to the United States.

“FCNL welcomes the Fourth Circuit’s decision to maintain the suspension of this unconstitutional and unconscionable executive order,” said FCNL Lobbyist for Human Rights Yasmine Taeb. “By showing cruelty to refugees seeking safe haven in the United States, betraying the strong American tradition of welcome, and introducing a new form of discrimination into our immigration system, this executive order goes against everything that we stand for and should never be implemented.”

“We also applaud the court’s frank comments on the executive order’s true intent,” Taeb said. “From the very first stages of its planning through today, this executive order has never been anything more than a thinly-veiled attempt to translate anti-Muslim prejudice directly into policy.”

In its decision, the court gave credence to claims that the travel ban is designed to discriminate on the basis of religion. Citing a number of statements made by President Trump expressing his intention to enact a Muslim Ban, the decision states:

“These statements, taken together, provide direct, specific evidence of what motivated [the executive order]: President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States. The statements also reveal President Trump’s intended means of effectuating the ban: by targeting majority-Muslim nations instead of Muslims explicitly.”

Given the Trump Administration’s ongoing attempts to deny any discriminatory intent, the fourth circuit's decision demonstrates its unwavering intention to maintain its independence and speak the truth.

Despite this victory, opponents of the Muslim Ban have considerably more work ahead of them. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard arguments in a related case on May 15th, but has not yet released a decision. Once the 9th Circuit’s decision has been released, the issue of the Muslim Ban will almost certainly go to the Supreme Court.

Rebecca Harris

  • Program Assistant for Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Rebecca Harris works closely with Legislative Representative Yasmine Taeb on issues including the Syrian refugee situation, the United States’ “War on Terror,” military use of lethal drones, and the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. As Program Assistant, she conducts research, meets with congressional staff, and drafts letters and other materials.

Yasmine Taeb

  • Legislative Director for Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Yasmine directs FCNL’s work on a number of human rights and civil liberties issues, including lobbying for increased resettlement of refugees, more transparency and oversight of the U.S. lethal drones program, calling for the closure of Guantanamo, and for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF, among other issues.