Feb. 3, 2017 – President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order restricting immigration to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries violates religious freedom rights and should be put on hold, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Attorneys with Americans United yesterday filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, State of Washington and State of Minnesota v. Trump. They also traveled to Seattle for a hearing on the matter today.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office has asked the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to issue a temporary restraining order against the Trump directive.

AU says the executive order violates the First Amendment rights of Muslims.

“The first duty of a fair and just country is to treat its people equally, no matter what they believe or don’t believe about religion,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Trump’s order violates the fundamental promise of America by targeting Muslims for disfavor. It must not be allowed to stand.”

Asserts AU’s brief, “The challenged Executive Order singles out Muslim-majority countries and subjects those who were born in or come from those countries (principally Muslims) to harsh legal disabilities and punishments, including exclusion, detention, and expulsion, based on their faith. At the same time, it affords exemptions and more favorable treatment to “religious minorit[ies]” in those countries – in other words, non-Muslims. Legal U.S. residents from the identified countries are thereby targeted and put at severe risk of detention and deportation because of their officially disfavored Muslim faith, while non-Muslims are free from threats of similar harm.”

It concludes, “The Executive Order is exactly what President Trump promised all along – a ‘Muslim Ban.’ No amount of rebranding will change that. People from seven countries are refused entry to the United States for no reason other than their deity and preferred holy book. Beyond failing every applicable legal standard, the Executive Order is an insult to the fundamental principles of our Constitution. It cannot stand. It should not stand even for a day. The temporary restraining order should issue.”

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.  www.au.org