Maryland Federal Judge Blocks National Security Efforts

By 

Edward White

|

October 25, 2017

Last week we reported that a Hawaii federal judge prohibited enforcement of the President’s recent Proclamation to begin enhanced vetting procedures of foreign nationals seeking entry into the United States. A Maryland federal judge has also enjoined the implementation of the Proclamation. Judge Theodore Chuang, who was appointed by President Obama, also previously enjoined President Trump’s National Security Executive Order, which temporarily paused entry into the United States of nationals from six unstable and/or terrorism-infested countries while our government conducted a worldwide review to determine which foreign governments provide us with sufficient information about their nationals before we allow their entry into our country. As a result of the worldwide review, the Presidential Proclamation imposes restrictions on nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen who seek entry into the United States. Those countries are deficient in their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities regarding their nationals and we have continuing concerns with terrorism in many of those countries. The Maryland judge previously determined that the Executive Order violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in light of, among other things, campaign comments made by then-candidate Trump and his advisors. The judge reached the same conclusion with regard to the Proclamation. However the judge excluded North Korea and Venezuela from his injunction, allowing the Proclamation go into effect only as to those two countries while blocking its implementation as to the other six nations. The Maryland judge’s ruling is being appealed by the federal government to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Briefing in that appeal will begin soon. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) plans to submit a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in support of the government’s position on appeal and urge the appellate court to reverse the Maryland judge’s injunction. The injunctions imposed against the Proclamation jeopardize our national security and improperly obstruct the President from exercising his constitutional and statutory duty to protect our nation. The Maryland case (along with the Hawaii case) will likely end up at the United States Supreme Court. The ACLJ stands ready to support the Proclamation as we did the National Security Executive Order. We will continue to keep you posted about this case as well as about the other important work of the ACLJ.