- Title: ACLU says government not complying with judge's immigration ruling
- Date: 30th January 2017
- Summary: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 30, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU) IMMIGRANTS' RIGHTS PROJECT DIRECTOR, LEE GELERNT, SAYING: "So, what's going around is this notion that whatever the president does in the immigration national security area is always fine. That is untrue. That is sort of one of those myths that's been propagated. He has to comply with the Constitution. So no doubt the president can keep out dangerous people, but he has to do it in an individualized way. He can't just do it in this broad way that keeps out everyone. And most importantly, he can't do it based on religion, and that's what this order does."
- Embargoed: 13th February 2017 18:23
- Keywords: ACLU ban stay Brooklyn judge Ann Donnelly
- Location: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / INTERNET
- City: NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES / INTERNET
- Country: USA
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA004619XJ5Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An immigration lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday (January 30) said the U.S. government was not complying with a judge's ruling limiting an immigration order signed by U.S. President Donald Trump last week.
Trump's order halted travel by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days.
He said these actions were needed "to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States."
The order sparked a global backlash, including from U.S. allies that view the actions as discriminatory and divisive.
U.S. judges in at least five states blocked federal authorities from enforcing Trump's executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
But Lee Gelernt, the director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, said some aspects of the ruling were not being heeded.
"We asked for a list of everyone who has been detained around the country because that's one of the major problems is that we just simply don't know how many people are being detained in how many airports around the country. We have not received that list from the government as of now. If we don't get it very soon, we will go back to the judge and say, 'we need the list. We're worried about people in detention. They don't have access to counsel in all airports. And we need to see them make sure they're OK'."
On his Twitter page on Monday morning, Trump defended the order.
"There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world!"
But Gelernt said the executive order was discriminatory and violated law.
"So, what's going around is this notion that whatever the president does in the immigration national security area is always fine. That is untrue. That is sort of one of those myths that's been propagated. He has to comply with the Constitution. So no doubt the president can keep out dangerous people, but he has to do it in an individualized way. He can't just do it in this broad way that keeps out everyone. And most importantly, he can't do it based on religion, and that's what this order does," Gelernt said.
Trump has said the order was aimed at keeping Americans safe and was not meant to single out Muslims.
"This is not about religion - this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order. We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days," Trump said in a statement posted to his Facebook page.
Gelernt said the executive order also went against international immigration norms.
"Everyone who reaches American shores has the right to due process, and in particular, the right to asylum hearing. That is part and parcel of federal refugee law which is based on international protocols that we've agreed to. You cannot send someone back without giving them an asylum hearing, but that's what the government was prepared to do. The president cannot override the asylum laws," he said.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Sunday (January 29) said it "will comply with judicial orders," while enforcing Trump's order in a manner that ensures those entering the United States "do not pose a threat to our country or the American people."
Striking that balance has caused confusion, according to lawyers who worked overnight and on Sunday to help travelers at JFK Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia, and elsewhere.
Over the weekend, protesters gathered at airports, including New York's JFK, chanting "let them go", and on Monday, volunteers remained set up inside of the arrivals terminal offering translation and legal help.
Attorneys general from California, New York, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., meanwhile, in a statement condemned and pledged to fight what they called Trump's "dangerous" and "unconstitutional" order.
Gelernt said he hoped the administration would reverse the order and avoid further legal wrangling.
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