A group of lawyers on Tuesday filed a motion in federal court in New York asking a judge to force the Trump administration to disclose a list of any individuals detained by his ‘extreme vetting’ Executive Order. The motion also seeks the return of any individuals who were removed from the United States as a result of the order. The lawyers, in court paperwork filed Tuesday afternoon, accuse the Trump administration of failing to comply with prior judicial orders issued in the case.
“The government has already been ordered to produce a list of individuals detained, pursuant to the January 27, 2017 Executive Order, to the petitioner’s counsel. However, despite repeated written requests for this list, Respondents have yet to provide Petitioners’ counsel with even one name of any person held at any U.S. airport or returned to a foreign port,” the motion states.
The original lawsuit was brought on behalf of two Iraqis, Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkaleq Alshawi, who were being held at JFK airport. The ACLU and a group of attorneys filed the case as a class action lawsuit shortly after the Trump executive order was signed. On January 28th, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) issued an order banning customs officials from deporting or detaining anyone who had arrived in the United States with valid visas, lawful permanent residency, or approved refugee status.
In the newly filed motion, the plaintiffs allege that the Trump administration is now not complying with some of the terms of the judge’s previous orders. In addition, they claim that border patrol agents “intimidated” travelers into withdrawing their visa applications “under conditions that cannot, under any reasonable interpretation, be construed as ‘voluntary.'”
“If the allegations in this legal memorandum — allegations that are shocking but seem entirely plausible on their face and appear to be supported by the affidavits and other materials referenced in the memo — are indeed true, then the President and those acting under his direction have a great deal to answer for and are skirting ever closer to outright defiance of lawful judicial orders or perhaps even crossing the line. Needless to say, such defiance is powerful grist for the awesome mill of impeachment,” Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe told LawNewz.com.
The State of Virginia is also looking to hold Trump administration officials for allegedly violating an order that required Customs and Border Protection officials to let lawyers speak with legal residents who were being detained.
This latest court filing comes as more than 40 similar cases are being heard in federal courts across the country. On Tuesday afternoon, the 9th Circuit is expected to hear oral arguments after a Seattle judge issued a nationwide halt to most of Trump’s travel ban.
Susan Seager also contributed to this report. We’ve updated this post with more information from the filing, and more background.
[image via screengrab]