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ACLU represents Iranian UC Berkeley student in lawsuit against Trump

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City News Editor

FEBRUARY 03, 2017

A UC Berkeley student is among four plaintiffs suing President Donald Trump for a recent executive order restricting immigration, alleging that the policy unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims.

The student, referred to in court documents as “John Doe,” is an Iranian campus doctoral student with a valid F-1 student visa.  He recently accepted a job offer at a Fortune 50 company in Silicon Valley, which the order jeopardizes.

Julia Mass, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said Doe chose to remain anonymous because he fears the federal government might target him for challenging the policy.

The suit was filed in response to Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which suspends the immigration of individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. The suit also targets a Department of State letter that revoked most valid immigrant and nonimmigrant visas from nationals of the aforementioned countries.

“The federal government already thoroughly vets everyone who comes here on student visas,” Mass said in an email. “This is absolutely a ban targeting people of the Muslim faith. This ban has barred Muslims from entering the United States, while favoring the entry of Christians.”

Other plaintiffs include two Yemeni students, Hadil Al-Mowafak of Stanford University and Wasim Ghaleb of Grossmont College, as well as the Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay, an organization that works to resettle and provide services to refugees. The ACLU is representing the plaintiffs in the suit, which, in addition to Trump, targets the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The ACLU seeks to establish the plaintiffs as a class representing all lawful immigrants from the seven restricted countries who are unable to leave and return to the U.S. because of the executive order, according to an ACLU press release. The goal of the suit, the release stated, is a declaration of the illegality of the executive order so that it may not be enforced.

Cases like this one tend to vary in length and sometimes take years to be resolved, according to Mass.

Jessica Lynn is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @jessicailynn.

FEBRUARY 05, 2017