Stanford student sues Trump over travel ban

Feb. 6, 2017, 12:33 a.m.

Several Bay Area students, including Stanford’s Hadil Mansoor Al-Mowafak ’20 from Yemen, have filed a lawsuit through the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that declares Trump’s recent executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries unconstitutional.

The lawsuit, titled Al-Mowafak v. Trump, includes two other Californian students as plaintiffs as well as the Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay (JFCS East Bay). The ACLU argues that Trump’s travel ban — which barred immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — violates both the First Amendment, for favoring Christian immigrants, as well as the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection and due process.

“The federal government has made it clear that it intends to favor Christian immigrants over Muslims,” the suit summary reads, going on to decry the executive order’s specific exclusion of the seven countries as “transparently a pretext” for discrimination.

The lawsuit comes amidst a storm of legal drama embroiling the White House after federal judge James Robart temporarily halted the order last Friday. The future of the original ban remains unclear as the U.S. Department of Justice begins its appeal.

The ACLU, a watchdog nonprofit, contacted Al-Mowafak after reading her story in The Daily. Al-Mowafak is a married undergraduate; her husband in Yemen is unable to visit her, and she risks losing her education by leaving the country.

Stanford’s campus reacted swiftly to the executive order. Students organized a protest that brought together about 80 participants, while a petition calling on Stanford to protect its international students garnered hundreds of signatures. Al-Mowafak said the strong showing of student activism has been heartening, but she urged students to continue calling their senators and representatives after the public outrage has calmed.

The lawsuit process will largely occur between lawyers, the ACLU told Al-Mowafak, which she says is a relief.

“I don’t have time right now, because of studying — I have midterms,” she said.


Contact Fiona Kelliher at fionak ‘at’

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