A federal judge on Friday issued a "first of its kind" ruling showing that President Donald Trump's travel ban does not apply to legal permanent residents, in a partial victory against the controversial executive order.
U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts of Detroit reaffirmed that the order, temporarily blocking entry for immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries, does not apply to permanent residents, including green card holders—who were among the many travelers caught up in the sweeping executive order that saw immigrants detained at airports across the country last week.
"The court orders that the United States is permanently enjoined from applying Sections 3(c) and 3(e) of the January 27, 2017 executive order against lawful permanent residents of the United States," Roberts wrote in her decision (pdf).
Trump's order, signed January 27, blocked entry to the U.S. for immigrants and refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen. It went into effect immediately, prompting massive protests at airports nationwide and swift action by civil and immigrant rights groups.
Nabih Ayad, an attorney with the Arab-American Civil Rights League, who co-filed an emergency lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of several green card holders blocked from entering the country, told CBS Detroit on Friday, "It's the first order of its kind across the nation. It makes absolutely certain that legal permanent residents—those with what we call in laypersons terms green card holders—can basically travel and leave the country as they please without hindrance by the executive order ban."
Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were a U.S. citizen whose nine-year-old son was denied a visa to join his family; an immigrant who was issued a visa to enter the country as a lawful permanent resident; and the civil rights league itself, whose members have been "adversely affected" by the executive order.
The victory comes just after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other civil and immigrant rights groups filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of immigrants currently residing legally in the U.S. who have been impacted by the executive order.
"These xenophobic policies do not make us safer," said Trina Realmuto, litigation director for the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, on Thursday. "Instead, they undermine American values."
Jennie Pasquarella, immigrants' rights director for the ACLU of California and senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Southern California, added, "By freezing Muslim immigrants out of the ability to become U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, the president's unconstitutional ban now takes aim at the very system that has made the United States a pluralistic nation."