State of Washington v. Donald Trump Refugee Executive Order Appeal

This is an excerpt, download full Amicus Brief (PDF) below.


As an initial matter, our nation’s laws make clear that this appeal should not be heard at all. Temporary restraining orders are generally nonappealable, and Appellants have provided no credible argument otherwise. But if the Court does consider this appeal, it clearly should not reverse the district court’s temporary restraining order (“TRO”).

As President George Washington wrote to a religious minority community containing many immigrants in 1790, “the government of the United States . . . gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” From as early as the arrival of the Pilgrims, this land has been a haven for immigrants, regardless of their faith and country of birth. Freedom of religion and from the establishment of religion are, of course, enshrined in our First Amendment.

The Executive Order hews away at these foundations of our nation. If this Court reverses the TRO, scores of refugees, students, professors, skilled workers, and many others who already have been approved to enter, or re-enter, the United States will be blocked from doing so solely based on their religion or national origin. For U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (“LPR”) who petitioned for immigrant visas for their family members and for the family members themselves, reversal of the TRO would cause them to lose their fundamental, constitutional right to live together as a family.

As organizations committed to serving and advocating on behalf of the nation’s immigrant populations, amici urge this Court to recognize the incalculable and irreparable harms that immigrant families will face under the Executive Order, by refusing to lift the District Court’s TRO.

Appellants argue that the President has the unfettered right to suspend the entry of aliens, even if based on their religion or national origin. But we live in a nation “of laws and not men.” Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 163 (1803). And the Constitution and Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) make clear that such distinctions are forbidden.

Amicus Briefs

Published on February 7, 2017


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