A Yemeni Stanford University freshman and two other California students filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Donald Trump, alleging his recent immigration ban is discriminatory and violates the First Amendment.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the students by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, alleges Trump's executive order to ban entry into the U.S. citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries is a discriminatory attempt to "fulfill a campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States."
The lawsuit also challenges a Jan. 27 Department of State letter that provisionally revoked most valid nonimmigrant and immigrant visas of nationals from the seven countries.
The executive order and letter are "violate the First Amendment because they are thinly veiled attempts to discriminate against Muslims by barring them from entry to the United States," the lawsuit states.
Stanford student Hadil Al-Mowafak, a Yemeni national, is the first plaintiff named in the complaint. She has been in the United States on a F-1 student visa since September, according to the lawsuit. She plans to travel to Yemen this summer to visit her husband, who lives there and does not have a U.S. visa.
"In addition to being unable to travel to see her husband, Plaintiff Al-Mowafak fears that if she is not permitted to re-enter the United States because of the Executive Order and its implementation, she will be prevented from continuing her undergraduate studies," the lawsuit states. "She is also fearful about the effects of the Provisional Revocation Letter on her immigration status.
Other plaintiffs include a 23-year-old San Diego college student, also from Yemen, who has been unable to return to the United States after leaving earlier this month to visit family in Saudi Arabia, and an anonymous Iranian University of California, Berkeley (Cal) graduate student who fears post-graduate work authorization he has secured to work at a Silicon Valley company will be jeopardized by the executive order.
The ACLU and Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay brought the lawsuit on behalf of these students and all people who are nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen who currently are, or recently have been, lawfully present in California and who, save the executive order, would be able to travel to or leave and return to the United States.
"The federal government has made it clear that it intends to favor Christian immigrants over Muslims in making decisions about who to detain, interrogate, deport, or entirely refuse entry," Julia Mass, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, said in a statement. "We are a diverse society. American Muslims, immigrants and U.S.-born alike, are part of the fabric of this nation."