Filed Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Closed Date: April 12, 2017
Clearinghouse coding complete
On January 31, 2017, a Syrian family that sought to immigrate to the U.S. filed an emergency petition for a writ of habeas corpus and a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Allentown. Represented by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and private counsel, the plaintiffs challenged President Trump’s January 27, 2017 executive order (EO-1) banning nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the U.S. The plaintiffs argued that the federal government's enforcement of EO-1 violated their Fifth Amendment equal protection and due process rights, the First Amendment Establishment Clause, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Additionally, the complaint alleged that the government’s actions were in violation of a temporary restraining order issued by the Eastern District of New York on January 28. That order, issued by District Judge Ann Donnelly in Darweesh v. Trump enjoined the government from removing individuals with refugee applications approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as part of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, holders of valid immigrant and non-immigrant visas, and other individuals from the seven countries targeted by EO-1 who were legally authorized to enter the U.S.
The plaintiffs in this case were all born in Syria. In 2003, one of the plaintiffs immigrated to the U.S. and later applied for immigrant visas for his two brothers and their families. On December 19, 2016, after waiting thirteen years, the plaintiffs were approved for Permanent Resident visas. On January 28, 2017, plaintiffs arrived at Philadelphia International Airport. Immediately, they were detained and denied access to see their family and speak to counsel. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revoked plaintiffs’ visas and told them that they could either return to Syria or risk arrest; the plaintiffs returned to Syria that day. In addition to CBP, the Department of Homeland Security, the President (in his official capacity), and five unknown government agents (either CBP or state/local law enforcement) were named as defendants.
At the same time the complaint was filed, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to have their visas reinstated and be granted immediate re-entry to the U.S. A hearing on the motion was set for February 8, 2017.
After an intervention by Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA), plaintiffs' lawyers announced that plaintiffs had received approval to enter the United States on February 5, 2017. They left Syria that day and were scheduled to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport the next day. On February 13, after the plaintiffs were admitted to the U.S., the court ordered the case to be stayed for 60 days so that the parties could discuss settlement. The court also denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order without prejudice.
On April 12, 2017, the plaintiffs filed a notice of voluntary dismissal. The Clearinghouse does not have access to this document so we are unsure if a settlement was eventually reached.
The case is now closed.
Jamie Kessler (2/2/2017)
Ava Morgenstern (2/15/2017)
Julie Aust (2/7/2017)
Virginia Weeks (6/19/2017)
Esteban Woo Kee (10/24/2021)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4578550/parties/abou-asali-v-us-department-of-homeland-security-dhs/
Diver, Edward (Pennsylvania)
Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania)
Gansallo, Ayodele A (Pennsylvania)
Hohenstein, Joseph C. (Pennsylvania)
Darrow, Joseph A. (District of Columbia)
Leeson, Joseph F. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
Last updated June 28, 2023, 3:07 a.m.
State / Territory: Pennsylvania
Filing Date: Jan. 31, 2017
Closing Date: April 12, 2017
Case Ongoing: No
Plaintiffs are Syrians who came to the U.S. as Legal Permanent Residents, but were denied admission at the Philadelphia airport and deported.
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Pending
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement: