DENVER - A Libyan student studying business at the Community College of Denver filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday against President Donald Trump, arguing his travel ban is unconstitutional.
24-year-old Zakaria Hagig is a legal resident of the United States, according to the lawsuit, who is from Libya and still has family there. His attorneys argue that Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations for 90 days violates his Fifth and 15th Amendment due process and equal protection rights.
The lawsuit also says the ban discriminates against him based on his religion, and that Trump has said Friday’s executive order “would help Christian refugees enter the United States.”
Former Democratic Colorado state Sen. Morgan Carroll and Denver attorney Alan Kennedy-Shaffer filed the suit on Hagig’s behalf.
Kennedy-Shaffer says the lawsuit is about more than one man. "We believe that this affects a lot more people than just our client. Fortunately he's doing it not only for himself, but all of the other international students, all of the other people affected by this frankly Muslim ban and all of the refugees who are now in legal limbo," he said.
They argue that Hagig, who they say “works and pays taxes,” has a constitutional right to travel to Libya in the event of a family emergency and be able to return to the United States.
"If he leaves the United States, then he won't be able to come back in, he won't be able to get his degree. He won't be able to get his education and he won't be able to pursue his dreams. That's at the heart of this case," Kennedy-Shaffer said.
In addition to Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DHS Secretary John Kelly, CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and LaShanda Jones, the director of the Denver Office of CBP, are also listed as defendants.
We contacted the Colorado office of the Department of Homeland Security and the Denver Office of CBP. Both said they couldn't comment on ongoing litigation.
Immigration expert and law assistant professor at the University of Denver Cesar Cuauhtmoc Garcia Hernandez says the legal process of challenging the executive order could take a long time. He says elected officials could make political changes much more quickly.
"That is a much faster process than litigation in the federal courts. Obviously, the likelihood of that happening is slim. But that is always on the table," he said. "If we have learned anything from the way in which political wins have moved in the last several months, it's that we should never say never when it comes to the process in the United States."
The lawsuit asks the court to rule that Trump’s executive order “Protesting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” be deemed illegal to enforce – and to make a decision as soon as possible.
Kennedy-Shaffer says the immigration ban is a civil rights issue. "At the end of the day, it comes down to ordinary people standing up for our values," he said. "For the constitution."
You can read the lawsuit in full below:
Can't see the document? Click here: http://bit.ly/2jzvw5L
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