ACLU on New Executive Order: ‘Muslim Ban 2’ Is Still a Muslim Ban

President Donald Trump. (Getty)

President Donald Trump. (Getty)

The ACLU, which led legal challenges against President Donald Trump’s first executive order on immigration, said Monday that the new order is “still a Muslim ban,” calling it “Muslim Ban 2.”

“The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible,” said Omar Jadwat, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, in a statement. “Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws.”

Trump signed the new order Monday morning without the press or TV cameras watching. Members of his administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Director John Kelly, briefed the media on the new order and how it differs from the first ban.

The new order includes restrictions on immigration and travel from six Muslim-majority countries – Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Iran. A seventh country, Iraq, has been removed after being included in the first order.

You can read the new order here.

“The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban,” Jadwat said. “Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people.”

“What’s more, the changes the Trump administration has made, and everything we’ve learned since the original ban rolled out, completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind and only strengthen the case against his unconstitutional executive orders,” said Jadwat.

The Yale Law School Clinic, which filed one of the first lawsuits against the original ban on behalf of Hameed Darweesh, also issued a statement, from law school intern Aaron Korthuis:

Donald Trump has repeatedly made it clear he wants to ban Muslim immigrants and refugees from the United States. After the Administration’s first Muslim ban was defeated in the courts, today’s Executive Order thinly veils Trump’s original discriminatory intentions by banning individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and suspending all refugee processing for 120 days – a move that will cost lives.

The President and his advisors have repeatedly declared their cowardly intent to discriminate against Muslims. He cannot disguise his anti-Muslim bigotry with cosmetic changes. This new Executive Order shows once again that the Trump Administration is on the wrong side of history.

The new Executive Order may use new lawyerly language, but it is animated by the same discriminatory intent. The President’s latest run-around does not change the events of the last few weeks. WIRAC is currently examining what this Executive Order means for Darweesh v. Trump and will move quickly to ensure people are protected from inhumane and unconstitutional religious discrimination.

We feel a deep obligation to ensure that this administration follows the Constitution. We will continue to challenge these unlawful and discriminatory actions and to give voice through the legal process to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who protested the original Muslim Ban. Like the original Executive Order, this Muslim Ban impacts doctors, students, refugees, and relatives of Americans eager to see their families, find refuge in the United States, or exchange ideas and work in U.S. universities and businesses.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement that he stands “ready to litigate” again after the signing of the new order.

“Courts across the country have made clear: President Trump is not above the Constitution,” Schneiderman, a Democrat, said in the statement. “While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear. This doesn’t just harm the families caught in the chaos of President Trump’s draconian policies – it’s diametrically opposed to our values and makes us less safe.”

Senator Chuck Schumer, D-New York, also said the ban is still a Muslim ban:

Amnesty International USA said in a statement, “This replacement order is the same hate and fear with new packaging. It will cause extreme fear and uncertainty for thousands of families by, once again, putting anti- Muslim hatred into policy. No amount of editing can make this executive order anything but what it is – blatant bigotry. There are real threats to security, but this bigoted order will do nothing to make the country safer.”

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who successfully halted the first executive order nationwide, said in a statement:

By rescinding his earlier Executive Order, President Trump makes one thing perfectly clear: His original travel ban was indefensible — legally, constitutionally and morally. The President has capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit, including bans on Green Card holders, visa holders and dual citizens, an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and explicit preferences based on religion. We are carefully reviewing the new Executive Order to determine its impacts on Washington State and our next legal steps.