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Civil Rights on the Line

For Rula Aoun, a federal judge’s order this week was the first step to overturning President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

As executive director of the Arab American Civil Rights League, Aoun is one of the attorneys who this week filed a lawsuit challenging the order.

We do have a lot of people affected in our community given that it is one of the most concentrated communities of Arab American and Muslims,” Aoun says. “It only seemed appropriate that we put our foot down in our jurisdiction since it directly impacts us.”

Responding to the suit, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts on Thursday ruled that green card holders can’t be barred from coming to the U.S., as the order first directed. (The White House later clarified that provision of the order.) At a hearing scheduled for Feb. 13, Roberts will consider further action against the order.

Here’s her ruling:

Detroit TRO by WDET 101.9 FM on Scribd

 

Aoun talked with WDET’s Sandra Svoboda about the suit, the order and what’s next in the legal process.

Click on the audio link above to hear the conversation.

Here’s a full transcript of it:

Sandra Svoboda: What was your reaction to seeing Judge Roberts’ order?

Sandra Svoboda

Rula Aoun: We were very pleased and certainly excited that we were able to have success come so soon. But of course it’s not over but it was not a shock. I know Judge Roberts, she’s a phenomenal judge and she always does the right thing but this just motivates us to continue to push forward with this order.

SS: Let’s back up a little bit and talk about the suit itself. Can you describe what’s in it and what you’re seeking? Click here to see the full lawsuit.

RA: Like many other lawsuits filed across the country, we are challenging this ban as unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds, Equal Protection grounds, violations of due process and the like, and some of our plaintiffs are green card holders. Other have obtained immigrant visas to come to the United States. We do have other individuals that don’t fall exactly into those categories but also have been affected in ways that tear families apart.

SS: There are several cases around the country challenging this order. How does your lawsuit here in Detroit with the Arab American Civil Rights League fall into that national legal landscape?

RA: It basically reinforces the activity that’s going on in the various jurisdictions across the country. We do have a lot of people affected in our community given that it is one of the most concentrated communities of Arab American and Muslims. It only seemed appropriate that we put our foot down in our jurisdiction since it directly impacts us.

SS: What’s been the reaction that you’ve gotten since filing the suit on Tuesday?

AACRL Lawsuit by WDET 101.9 FM on Scribd

RA: We’ve had a tremendous amount of support from our attorneys, our volunteers, people wanting to work with us and support us. It’s been tremendous and I’m mainly appreciative everyone extending a helping hand and wanting to know how they can participate and how they can support us in making sure that this is one of the suits that has the most success and chip further away at the order continuously.

SS: As you look forward to the hearing that Judge Roberts scheduled on Monday, Feb. 13, what work do you have to do in the week before that?

RA: We have a lot of work to do. Obviously, it’s not all pretty to go and argue a case. A lot of research has to be done, a lot of briefings. We’ve been in touch with a lot of other friends in the community to make sure that our lawsuit encompasses all of the individuals that we know that should be here and have not successfully been able to arrive to the United States.

SS: What ultimately do you hope is the outcome?

RA: Ultimately I hope whether it be through our lawsuit or the various lawsuits that it completely dismantle this order as unconstitutional. That is the ultimate goal. I know that just by the strength that we have and the support that we have that we will not stop until a decision is made on that.

Image credit: Sandra Svoboda

About the Author

Sandra Svoboda

Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.

ssvoboda@wdet.org   Follow @WDETSandra

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