I am one of many Amici Supporting Appellees who signed onto the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case against President Trump’s ban against immigrants from the six Muslim countries, and I’m delighted by Judge Thacker’s concurring opinion that Trump’s and the government’s reasoning to apply a ban on Muslims coming from the six banned countries “has not met the criteria it claims it used, and the reason seems obvious — and inappropriate.”

The relevant passage from Judge Thacker’s opinion appears on p. 137-138 of his argument, as follows:

The Government’s untenable position is made even worse by the fact that the Government’s purported justification for EO-2 does not logically support the ban it created. EO-2 reasoned that people coming from the six banned countries posed an increased risk of committing terrorist acts because, according to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 (the “Country Reports”), “each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones,” and were unwilling or unable “to share or validate important information about individuals seeking to travel to the United States.” EO-2, § 1(d); see § 1(e) (citing Country Reports). However, given these conditions as the reason for the ban, and based on the Country Reports, two other majority Christian countries — Venezuela and the Philippines — should have logically been included. See U.S. Dep’t of State, Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, Country Reports on Terrorism 2015 78–85, 297–98, 308–09, 314–15, 352, 380 (June 2016), https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/258249.pdf (excerpts saved as ECF opinion attachment). Neither country is willing and able to help the Government verify information about people attempting to travel to the United States, and both countries have terrorist organizations operating within their boundaries. Therefore, applying the Government’s logic, the potential of a terrorist act from a national of Venezuela or the Philippines would also justify a blanket ban on all nationals from these countries. Interestingly, however, the CIA World Factbook reports that Venezuelan population is, at most, 2% Muslim, and the Philippine population is 5% Muslim. See Cent. Intelligence Agency, Field Listings: Religions, World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2122.html (last visited May 23, 2017) (saved as ECF opinion attachment). Thus, the Government has not consistently applied the criteria it claims it used, and the reason seems obvious — and inappropriate.

A victory for justice and the first amendment!

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