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Case Name Sarsour v. Trump IM-VA-0005
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00120 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
Special Collection Trump Travel Ban Challenges
Attorney Organization Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Case Summary
This lawsuit filed on January 30, 2017, challenged President Trump’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order (EO-1). EO-1 barred legal immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US and prohibited Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely. The complaint was ... read more >
This lawsuit filed on January 30, 2017, challenged President Trump’s January 27, 2017, Executive Order (EO-1). EO-1 barred legal immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the US and prohibited Syrian refugees from entering the US indefinitely. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (in Alexandria) by a group of Muslim American activisits and political leaders as well as 12 anonymous plaintiffs residing in the US with varied immigration statuses who would not be able to leave and re-enter the US as a result of EO-1. The case was assigned to Judge Anthony Trenga.

The complaint argued that one of the purposes of EO-1 was to “initiate the mass expulsion of immigrant and nonimmigrant Muslims lawfully residing in the US by denying them the ability to renew their lawful status or receive immigration benefits afforded to them under the Immigration and Nationality Act.” Moreover, it argued that EO-1 applied only to Muslims. Therefore, according to the complaint, EO-1 had an illegal purpose and effect and violated the First Amendment Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses, Equal Protection, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The complaint named (all in their official capacity) then US President Donald Trump, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of State as defendants. Represented by private counsel and attorneys from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that EO-1 violated the Fifth Amendment, and an injunction requiring the government to remedy the Constitutional violations caused by EO-1, a jury trial, and attorneys’ fees. While all versions of the complaint in this lawsuit referenced claims for relief for plaintiffs and “others similarly situated” the docket does not indicate that a motion for class certification was ever filed.

On March 6, 2017, the President rescinded EO-1 and replaced it with a narrower one, Executive Order 13780 (EO-2). In response, plaintiffs filed both an amended complaint and an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction on March 13, 2017. The amended complaint argued that the history and text of the rescinded EO-1 revealed an illegal purpose. Further, the effects of EO-2 continued to impact Muslims seeking entry to the US as EO-2 still allowed the illegal purpose of the rescinded EO-1 to take effect. The amended complaint removed the Free Exercise claim and added an allegation that EO-2 violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

District Judge Trenga denied plaintiffs’ emergency motion on March 24, 2017. He found that while plaintiffs had standing to challenge EO-2, they failed to show the EO-2 exceeded the President's authority. Additionally, the court found that plaintiffs had not shown they would be likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim. Diverging from the court in Trump v. Hawaii, the district judge refused to use the President's past statements as evidence of the order's discriminatory nature, reasoning that "the Court cannot conclude for the purposes of the Motion that these statements, together with the President’s past statements, have effectively disqualified him from exercising his lawful presidential authority." 245 F. Supp. 3d 719.

On April 21, 2017, the government filed a motion to stay proceedings pending the outcome of IRAP v. Trump where oral arguments in front of the Fourth Circuit had been scheduled for May 8, 2017. The government pointed to how the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland had issued a nationwide injunction barring the enforcement of Section 2(c) of EO-2 and the disposition of that case on appeal would affect the district court’s consideration of the legal issues in this case. The court stayed proceedings on April 24, 2017, and continued the stay on August 18, 2017, following the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari for IRAP after the Fourth Circuit upheld the preliminary injunction.

The Supreme Court remanded IRAP to the district court with orders to dismiss the case as moot on October 11, 2017, as EO-2 expired on September 24, 2017. In response, the district court lifted the stay on this case for the limited purpose of allowing plaintiffs to file an amended complaint so that they could address the most recent version of the travel ban EO-3 (issued on September 24).

Plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint on December 26, 2017, and made substantively similar arguments to their first amended complaint. Following plaintiffs' amended complaint, the government moved to stay proceedings on January 5, 2018, pending the resolution of the IRAP and Hawaii cases which had both made their way back to the Supreme Court. The court granted defendants' motion to stay on January 9, 2018. There were no further proceedings from January 2018 to June 2021.

Following President Biden’s revocation of the travel ban EOs on his Inauguration Day (January 20, 2021), the parties submitted a joint stipulation of dismissal on June 25, 2021. Accordingly, District Judge Trenga signed an order dismissing the case on the same day.

This case is closed.

Virginia Weeks - 03/21/2017
Jamie Kessler - 01/20/2018
Virginia Weeks - 09/15/2017
Eva Richardson - 04/22/2019
Esteban Woo Kee - 08/08/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief denied
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Religious programs / policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Constitutional rights
Deportation - procedure
Refugees
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Office of the Director of National Intelligence
President of the U.S.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of State
Plaintiff Description Named plaintiffs were a group of Muslim American activists and political leaders. The original complaint also listed 12 anonymous plaintiffs residing in the US with varied immigration status who would not be able to leave and re-enter the US as a result of the travel ban.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None
Filed 01/30/2017
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Proclamation 10141 of January 20, 2021: Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 20, 2021
By: President Joseph R. Biden (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Executive Order on Resuming the United States Refugee Admissions Program with Enhanced Vetting Capabilities
Federal Register
Date: Oct. 24, 2017
By: United States
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats
Federal Register
Date: Sep. 24, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementing Executive Order 13780 Following Supreme Court Ruling -- Guidance to Visa-Adjudicating Posts
Reuters
Date: Jun. 28, 2017
By: U.S. Department of State
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence
Date: Jun. 14, 2017
By: Donald Trump (White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States
Federal Register
Date: Mar. 6, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (President of the United States)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Memorandum to the Acting Secretary of State, the Acting Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security
The White House
Date: Feb. 1, 2017
By: Donald F. McGahn II, Counsel to the President (The White House)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement by Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
https://www.nytimes.com/
Date: 1/30/2017
By: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates (Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Statement By Secretary John Kelly on the Entry of Lawful Permanent Residents into the United States
https://www.dhs.gov/
Date: 1/29/2017
By: DHS Secretary John Kelly (Department of Homeland Security)
Citation: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/statement-secretary-john-kelly-entry-lawful-permanent-residents-united-states
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  OLC Memo Re: Proposed Executive Order Entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States"
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: Curtis Gannon (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States
Federal Register
Date: Jan. 27, 2017
By: President Donald Trump (Office of the President)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Va.
06/25/2021
1:17-cv-00120
IM-VA-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Va.
01/30/2017
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
IM-VA-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/13/2017
Amended Complaint [ECF# 11]
IM-VA-0005-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/13/2017
Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 13]
IM-VA-0005-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/17/2017
Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 22]
IM-VA-0005-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/17/2017
Amicus Curiae Brief from Professor Victor Williams of the America First Lawyers Association, in Support of President Donald Trump [ECF# 27]
IM-VA-0005-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/20/2017
Notice of Additional Authority [ECF# 30]
IM-VA-0005-0012.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
03/24/2017
Memorandum Opinion [ Plaintiffs’ emergency motion for TRO and/or PI] [ECF# 36] (245 F.Supp.3d 719)
IM-VA-0005-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
04/21/2017
Consent Motion to Stay the Proceedings [ECF# 41]
IM-VA-0005-0022.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
12/26/2017
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Jury Demand [ECF# 48]
IM-VA-0005-0025.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
01/05/2018
Joint Motion to Stay Proceedings [ECF# 49]
IM-VA-0005-0026.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Va.
01/09/2018
Order [ECF# 50]
IM-VA-0005-0027.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Davis, Ivan D. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-9000
Trenga, Anthony John (E.D. Va.) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0018 | IM-VA-0005-0027 | IM-VA-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abbas, Gadeir Ibrahim (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0001 | IM-VA-0005-0004 | IM-VA-0005-0006 | IM-VA-0005-0025 | IM-VA-0005-0026
Akeel, Shereef H (Michigan) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0004 | IM-VA-0005-0006 | IM-VA-0005-0025
Masri, Lena F (Michigan) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0001 | IM-VA-0005-0004 | IM-VA-0005-0006 | IM-VA-0005-0025
Defendant's Lawyers Barghaan, Dennis C. (Virginia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022 | IM-VA-0005-0026
Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Boente, Dana J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Garg, Arjun (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Rosenberg, Brad P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Schwei, Daniel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0022
Soskin, Eric J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012
Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-VA-0005-0010 | IM-VA-0005-0012 | IM-VA-0005-0022

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