Class Action Suit Filed for Tens of Thousands of Legal Immigrants Affected by Ban

The ACLU and other civil and immigrant rights groups have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of immigrants who are currently residing legally in the United States but have been impacted by President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and temporarily barring entry for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.

The order has wreaked havoc across the country; indeed, the class action suit was filed one day before 50 ACLU affiliates filed 18 coordinated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with local U.S. Customs and Border Protection offices seeking clarity on how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president’s order at over 55 international airports across the country—and whether they are acting in violation of federal courts that have ordered a stay on its implementation.

Now, the ACLU says, “[i]mmigration attorneys have learned from leaked documents that the order is being applied to immigrants already lawfully residing within the U.S. who have pending applications for asylum, lawful permanent residence, and other immigration benefits, affecting tens of thousands of immigrants residing legally in the U.S.”

The Intercept reported Monday that “staffers at one Department of Homeland Security office were devastated when they arrived at work Monday morning to find an email” outlining how the travel ban impacted immigration claims including petitions for asylum, permanent residency, or naturalization. As per The Intercept:

This interpretation of the order impacts people like plaintiff Mehdi Ostadhassan, an Iranian national and practicing Muslim who has been living in the U.S. since 2009 and has an American wife and son. Ostadhassan, an engineering professor at the University of North Dakota, has applied for and is eligible to adjust his status to that of a permanent resident, the class action lawsuit (pdf) states.

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