November 7, 2017
Ensuring the safety and security of our communities
WASHINGTON – The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the Court to reverse a preliminary injunction that the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland had placed on President Trump’s latest national security order limiting entry into the United States by certain classes of foreigners. On October 17, 2017, the district court found that Trump’s order violated Congress’s ban on national-origin discrimination and also violated the Establishment Clause, which bars religious discrimination.
In its brief, IRLI pointed out that the federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear the plaintiffs’ statutory claims, because Congress never gave them such jurisdiction. As for the Establishment Clause, IRLI pointed out that if the district court were correct in its reasoning, federal courts could enjoin President Trump’s war on the Islamic State, and also enjoin any attempt by the President to block members of the Islamic State from entering the country. No one believes the courts can do either of these things in the name of the Establishment Clause.
“If the district court had given due weight to American sovereignty and the separation of powers in the Constitution, it could have avoided issuing a ruling with so many disastrous legal consequences,” said Chris Hajec, IRLI’s director of litigation.
“The Establishment Clause was never intended to impact the President or Congress’s foreign policy decisions – and immigration is a foreign policy decision,” said Dale L. Wilcox, IRLI’s executive director. “The Supreme Court has always recognized this, and when courts depart from that historic understanding, all kinds of absurd consequences result. And as the recent deadly attack by an ISIS sympathizer in New York City shows, those consequences can be tragic.
“Some people think all religions are positive forces,” Wilcox continued. “The religious group that calls itself the Islamic State may not be mainstream Islam, but it’s a religion of some kind under every test the federal courts use. And it shows that some religions out there in the world aren’t so nice. The Framers of the Constitution wisely left the decision of what groups or classes to exclude to the unrestricted sovereign will of the American people, acting through their elected representatives,” Wilcox continued. “It’s a political question, not one for the courts. After all, if people die because of a court decision, nothing happens to the judge; he doesn’t get removed from office. But, the people can vote out elected leaders if they get it wrong.
“The courts must let the people decide how best to protect their lives and their interests at the border,” Wilcox concluded.
The case is International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump, No. 17-2231(L) (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit).
For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]
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