The American Civil Liberties Union said that Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to the US from seven Muslim-majority countries is unconstitutional.
The new US President has issued the Order, preventing citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—fleeing from their respective nations and seeking permission to enter the United States.
In response to the ban, many American Muslims and even people outside the country have begun traveling to the US for religious purposes, with many citing that the new ban gives them an opportunity to pray in a US city.
In a statement released on Saturday, the ACLU argued that the government’s position on religious freedom is an “evolving one.” According to the ACLU, the government’s interpretation of religious freedom is in conflict with its own claims of religious liberty.
“The First Amendment to the Constitution and its amendments has established an unequivocal and unquestioned religious liberty right for all people to practice their own religion free from governmental coercion,” said Thomas Verma, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California, said in the statement. “The government can’t treat people of any religion differently when it comes to exercising their religious liberty.”
“The idea that a president or his appointees can deny people entry based on their religion is profoundly, profoundly disturbing,” he added.
The ACLU also noted that the executive order appears to be motivated by a desire toward religion. The group said that many Muslim immigrants, such as refugees, have long had the option to apply for visas to come into the country, and that it is likely that the ban would impact some of those travelers.
As a result of the order, a number of organizations have formed in the aftermath, ranging from the ACLU to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which filed the lawsuit in the first place.
The ACLU also called on the US Supreme Court to intervene, which appears to be their only hope for saving the ban. During his confirmation hearing before the Senate on Tuesday, the government’s nominee to be attorney general, Senator Jeff Sessions, expressed that the order would help protect US people “from Islamic terrorism.”
President-elect Donald Trump has issued an executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US, and has said he will be asking the Supreme Court to stay the order. Photo via AP.
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