University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
Civil Rights Challenges to President Trump's Executive Orders on Immigration and Refugees
February 17, 2017
In his first week in office, President Trump issued three Executive Orders relating to immigration and refugee policy. The two immigration orders, available here and here directed much heavier use of detention for those seeking lawful status, punitive measures against so-called "sanctuary jurisdictions," an increase to the number of deportation officers, and building of a border wall. The original order on refugees, available here, totally barred admission into the United States of all nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen--including those who are already legal greencard holders here. It suspended the refugee program for all countries for 120 days (indefinitely for Syria).

Legal challenges ensued immediately; the key cases and a spreadsheet of all the cases we know about dealing with the refugee/visa order are available at this Clearinghouse special page. Cases addressing the immigration enforcement orders are here. And Freedom of Information Act cases against the Trump administration, including a great deal of litigation relating to immigration and border enforcement, are here.

The litigation led to injunctions against both Executive Orders. In States of Washington and Minnesota v. Trump, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington granted a temporary injunction against the Refugee/Visa order, and on Feb. 9, the 9th Circuit refused to stay that injunction. In response, the President on March 6, 2017, rescinded the refugee order and replaced it with a somewhat narrower one, available here. It faced immediate challenge, as well. The first case to attack it is Hawaii v. Trump; on March 15, the federal district court in that case enjoined operation of the replacement Order, too. That injunction remains operative, as does a second one, entered in IRAP v. Trump, in the District of Maryland. The former preliminary injunction was affirmed by the 9th Circuit on appeal; the latter was affirmed by the 4th Circuit. On June 1, 2017, the Trump administration took the matter to the Supreme Court, seeking a stay of both injunctions, and certiorari review. The Court granted cert. and declined to stay most of the injunction, but did narrow the preliminary injunctions to protect only would-be visitors/immigrants to the U.S. with a "bona fide relationship" with a U.S. person or entity. More details and the documents are here and here. The case is set to be argued in October.

In the consolidated cases of San Francisco and Santa Clara v. Trump, the federal district court for the Northern District of California on April 25 granted a preliminary injunction against the sanctuary city provisions of the interior enforcement order.