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The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has granted an emergency motion to stay the removal of immigrants and refugees detained and prevented from entering the United States as a result of President Trump's executive order.
The suit was filed yesterday on behalf of two Iraqi refugees granted visas to the enter the United States but who were detained at JFK International Airport. The original habeas petition challenges the executive order as a violation of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi's rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses, while the petitioners also sought a class certification to represent all refugees and immigrants “legally authorized to enter the United States, but who have been or will be denied entry.” (Darweesh was allowed entry into the United States earlier today, after the initial habeas petition had been filed.) Petitioners later filed an emergency motion for a stay of removal to prevent Alshawi and other members of the class from deportation.
The order, handed down by Judge Ann Donnelly, rules that:
The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioner and others similarly situated violates their rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution. . . .
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.
On those grounds, the court finds the government to be:
ENJOINED AND RESTRAINED from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals with refugee applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen legally authorized to enter the United States.
While the order prevents removal from the United States, it is not clear whether it requires the plaintiffs to be allowed entry. It is also unclear whether the stay will apply going forward to individuals who fall under the ban imposed by the Executive Order but who are otherwise “legally authorized to enter the United States”—that is, whether the stay prevents only the removal of those individuals currently detained in airports as a result of the order or whether it will continue to prevent removal of any similarly situated individual who arrives in a U.S. airport in the near future.
The court also ordered the government to provide a full list of individuals detained as a result of the Executive Order. Further proceedings are set for February.
Meanwhile, Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a temporary restraining order requiring the government to permit green card holders detained in Dulles International Airport access to counsel and forbidding the detainees from being removed from the United States for seven days.
The EDNY's order to stay, the emergency motion, and the memorandum in support of the motion are available below, along with the EDVA application for a temporary restraining order and the order itself.
UPDATE: There appears to have been another stay: