ADL Joins Court Challenge Against Trump’s Muslim Ban

The Anti-Defamation League supports travel ban opponents by filing an amicus brief in support of a legal challenge to the measure.

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Hamed Bay, Logan Airport, Boston, January 28, 2017.
Iranian students in the U.S. view American Jewish activism against the Muslim travel ban with welcome surprise. Hamed Bay reunited with family at Logan Airport, Boston, Jan 2017Credit: BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Many U.S. Jewish groups have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration on refugees.

But on Monday, the Anti-Defamation League took its opposition a step further, filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit supporting the State of Washington’s challenge to the order.

The ADL’s “friend of the court” brief urges the court to block enforcement of the order that many view as a ban on Muslims on the grounds that it would cause “irreparable harm to countless people” and that it betrays America’s fundamental values and tradition “of accepting people into this country regardless of their faith, race or nationality.”

“When we stray from our core principles, we are left to apologize to individuals and their descendants who had suffered, and posthumously to those who have tragically lost their lives as a result. This case reminds us to fulfill the promise of learning from our mistakes,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO in a statement announcing the submission of the brief.  

John Harris, ADL Legal Affairs Committee Chair, and primary author of the 36-page brief, added that the U.S. “has been and should be a beacon of hope for refugees from war-torn countries and for victims of persecution.”

The brief asserts that “America has always been at its best when it opens its doors to refugees and immigrants,” before mentioning times in which the U.S. failed to do so with “profound consequences.”  

Its examples of failure included the 1939 rejection of the ship the St. Louis, when European Jews fleeing Hitler were refused entry to the U.S. and sent back to Europe, where many were killed by the Nazis, as well as the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.

It also mentioned a less-cited incident in the 1800, when thousands of Chinese laborers were excluded from the United States by law.

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