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Tampa Man Is Plaintiff in Lawsuit Against Trump Immigration Order

Julio Ochoa/WUSF
Hassan Shibly speaks during a press conference in Tampa.

Two of the 27 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against President Trump's executive order temporarily banning some immigrants from coming to the United States are from Florida.

One is an unnamed Syrian man from Broward County.

The other is Hassan Shibly, the director of Florida's chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Tampa.

Shibly and the other plaintiffs contend that the order violates the U.S. Constitution, which affords equal protection for all citizens.

During a press conference in Tampa on Tuesday, Shibly said Trump's order singles out Muslims.

“My 5-year-old daughter today told me, ‘We're not going anywhere. Donald Trump wants to kick us out but we're not leaving,’” Shibly said. “His policies stigmatize American Muslims. They make us feel unwelcome. They make us feel like our government is against us and they reinforce the message of extremists." 

The plaintiff's say Trump's order gives preference to Christian refugees by making exceptions for Christian immigrants. Shibly says that violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which states that the government cannot give preference to one religion over another.

The order also violates the 14th Amendment, Shibly said, which guarantees all equal protection under the law.

Shibly says Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the country when he was running for office. He also pointed to statements by Trump aide, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who said in an interview on Fox News that Trump asked him how to legally implement what Giuliani referred to as the "Muslim ban."

Shibly feared that the travel ban could be the beginning of more anti-Muslim legislation from the Trump administration.

"We're certainly fearful of what he may attempt, and we're going to be vigilant in protecting not only our liberty, but the liberty of all Americans," he said.

President Trump's executive order temporarily halts immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and indefinitely bans immigration from Syria.

“Yes this policy doesn’t affect all Muslims, but it affects only Muslims,” Shibly said. 

Newspapers were my first love, but public radio stole my heart from the moment I tuned in during college.
Morgan Blauth is a WUSF News intern for spring 2017. She is a senior at USF majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in English. She writes for a variety of organizations, including The Oracle, Her Campus and the USF Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) blog.
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