The American Civil Liberties Union – with an assist from the Council on American-Islamic Relations – successfully sued the Trump administration on Saturday after a handful of foreign nationals were detained at New York’s JFK Airport. The ACLU brought the suit before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly, an Obama-appointee who ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
The suit targeted President Trump’s executive order, signed Friday, that places a temporary immigration ban on individuals coming into the U.S. from seven countries known for being terrorism hotspots: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. As a result of the order, some foreigners were trapped in limbo when they arrived in the U.S. They were detained by the authorities, which set off protests at JFK and other airports around the country.
The ACLU brought the suit on behalf of two Iraqi refugees who had been detained at JFK. Judge Donnelly issued a stay against Trump’s order, writing that “there is imminent danger that, absent the stay of removal, there will be substantial and irreparable injury to refugees, visa-holders, and other individuals from nations subject” to the executive order.
In a statement, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said their organization was pleased with the outcome.
“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country,” he said. “Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”
Well, no one said this was going to be easy.
Groups like the ACLU and CAIR are going to fight President Trump at every turn for the next four years. And they will often be able to find a liberal judge here or there to give them small victories that they can then exaggerate to their supporters for the sake of donations. That’s fine. That’s all part of the impending battle for the soul and security of this nation. We aren’t going to magically fix decades of bad policy in one week.
President Obama often cautioned his supporters against expecting whirlwind progress. You know, the old “arc of history bends toward justice” refrain. Well, it’s the same on our side. We’re going to gain a little ground and lose a little ground. The important thing is that we gain a little more than we lose. And we just keep pushing forward.