University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Asali v. DHS IM-PA-0014
Docket / Court 5:17-cv-00447 ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
Special Collection Trump Travel Ban Challenges
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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 - 02/02/2017
Ava Morgenstern - 02/15/2017
Julie Aust - 02/07/2017
Virginia Weeks - 06/19/2017
Esteban Woo Kee - 10/24/2021


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Equal Protection
Establishment Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Family reunification
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Deportation - criteria
Deportation - judicial review
Deportation - procedure
Family Separation
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Habeas Corpus, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2253; 2254; 2255
Defendant(s) Office of the President of the United States
United States Customs and Border Protection
United States Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are Syrians who came to the U.S. as Legal Permanent Residents, but were denied admission at the Philadelphia airport and deported.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 01/31/2017
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  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 ]

  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 ]

  Asali v. Trump
Date: Jan. 28, 2017
By: American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania
[ Detail ] [ 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. Pa.
04/12/2017
5:17-cv-447
IM-PA-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Pa.
01/31/2017
Emergency Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-PA-0014-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
E.D. Pa.
01/31/2017
Index of Exhibits [ECF# 1-2]
IM-PA-0014-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
E.D. Pa.
01/31/2017
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, Brief in Support of Motion, and Proposed Order [ECF# 3]
IM-PA-0014-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
E.D. Pa.
02/13/2017
Order [staying the case and denying TRO without prejudice] [ECF# 11]
IM-PA-0014-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Leeson, Joseph F. Jr. (E.D. Pa.) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0004 | IM-PA-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Diver, Edward (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0001 | IM-PA-0014-0002 | IM-PA-0014-0003
Feinberg, Jonathan H. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-9000
Gansallo, Ayodele A (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0001 | IM-PA-0014-0002 | IM-PA-0014-0003
Hohenstein, Joseph C. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0001 | IM-PA-0014-0002 | IM-PA-0014-0003 | IM-PA-0014-9000
Messing, Paul (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0001 | IM-PA-0014-0002 | IM-PA-0014-0003
Roper, Mary Catherine (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-0001 | IM-PA-0014-0002 | IM-PA-0014-0003
Tack-Hooper, Molly M. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Darrow, Joseph A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-PA-0014-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -