Judge Grants a Nationwide Stay Halting Part of Trump's Immigration Ban After ACLU Files Emergency Lawsuit

Protesters outside JFK Airport demonstrate against the immigration ban, January 28, 2017. Photo via AP.
Protesters outside JFK Airport demonstrate against the immigration ban, January 28, 2017. Photo via AP.

A federal judge in Brooklyn has granted a stay halting Donald Trump’s dangerous, xenophobic immigration ban, after the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center sued on behalf of two men from Iraq who were detained at New York’s JFK Airport. The stay applies nationally. The ACLU and the NILC are fucking heroes.

The ACLU announced Saturday they were filing suit with a coalition of other legal organizations; besides the NILC they included the International Refugee Assistance Project at the Urban Justice Center, Yale Law School’s Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, and the firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.The suit was filed on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who both held valid visas and were traveling to the United States to join their families.


Darweesh worked as a translator for the U.S. military in Iraq; a veteran and former Obama administration who worked with him called him heroic and “fearless.”

Alshawi, the other man represented by the ACLU, was traveling to the United States to meet his wife and son, who are lawful permanent residents and live in Houston. Alshawi had not seen his son for three years.

Visa-holders from the seven nations named in Trump’s executive order were left stranded at airports across the country, and many were told they would be sent back to their countries of origin. The stay granted tonight by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly guarantees that detained visa-holders can’t be sent back.


But, as the New York Times points out, the order stops short of definitively letting visa-holders into the country “or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s actions.” There is a real danger that people being detained at the airport could now be placed in detention until the case is resolved.


A crowd outside the federal courthouse at Brooklyn’s Cadman Plaza greeted the ACLU’s lawyers with applause.


Dale Ho, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, announced on Twitter that the judge’s order also stipulates that the government has to provide a list of those affected by the detainment orders today.


The ACLU is still working to locate everyone who has been detained nationwide, members of the organization told the media tonight.


The stay is, of course, temporary. This isn’t over. In a single day, with one signature, Trump sowed chaos, fear, panic, and an Orwellian bureaucratic nightmare on an international scale. It won’t be the last time. Donate to the ACLU today.

Update: Here’s the full text of the stay:


This is a breaking news post and may be updated.

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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The Noble Renard

Very important to note that by the text of the order, there is NOT any block to Trump’s exclusion of refugees; this JUST says that people cannot be “removed,” which means that people are still stuck abroad. This saves those who were in the air when the EO was signed and who are currently detained.

Also, I’ve been saying this everywhere, but this wasn’t just the ACLU! Other orgs were involved and need your money too!