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Shiite Org, Yemeni Parents File Latest Travel Ban Challenge

Shiite Org, Yemeni Parents File Latest Travel Ban Challenge

The U.S. arm of a Shiite Muslim organization and a Yemeni husband and wife were the latest to challenge President Donald Trump’s revised executive order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, alleging March 31 that the order is outright religious discrimination.

This comes after courts in both Hawaii and Maryland blocked the March 6 order, which prohibits travel to the U.S. for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The government said it planned to fight both orders on appeal, but moved forward on the Maryland case first, filing a notice of appeal to the Fourth Circuit on March 17.

It also come on the same day a Virginia federal judge refused to block the order, finding that the president did not exceed his authority in implementing the ban. That ruling, however, does not have a bearing on the restraining order, which remains pending an appellate ruling.

In Friday’s suit, filed in D.C. federal court, the Yemeni asylum seekers, who have a 10 and 12-year-old son that they are trying to bring to the U.S., allege the ban imperils the children and sends a message that neither they nor their religion are welcome in the country.

The parents could not afford to bring all of their children to the U.S. when they received asylum and the two remaining sons are currently in stranded in Djibouti, after fleeing Yemen, where they await transit to the U.S., the suit says.

However, because of the ban they cannot return to the U.S. and keeping them in Djibouti is both financially and emotionally burdensome, they argue.

Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, who helped file the suit, called the ban both unconstitutional and cruel.

“It divides families and keeps children from their parents, for no reason other than bias and prejudice against members of the Muslim faith,” he said in a statement. The U.S. Constitution – and simple human decency – call for this ban to be struck down.”

The Universal Muslim Association of America, the Shiite group, also said the ban was discriminatory because it prevented a visit by a religious scholar. The scholar was already granted a visa, which was revoked causing the organization to have to seek a refund for the cost of his travel.

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