McDermott Files Amicus Brief in First Legal Challenge to President’s Revised Travel Ban

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McDermott Will & Emery, in its role as pro bono counsel to the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), filed an amicus brief in State of Hawaii v. Trump in support of Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s revised executive order barring individuals from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees from entering the United States.

Filing just before midnight on March 7, Hawaii became the first state to challenge the revised order. The US District Court for the District of Hawaii agreed to hear oral arguments on the State’s motion for a temporary restraining order on March 15, 2017, the day before the revised order is to take effect.

McDermott’s brief in this case describes decades of statutory exclusion of citizens of Asian and Pacific Island countries under early US immigration law, including the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first federal law to ban a group of people on the basis of their race. The Civil Rights Era marked a dramatic turning point that saw Congress dismantle nationality-based discrimination with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. The brief explains that presidential discretion in the area of immigration and refugee admission, while broad, is limited by statute and the United States Constitution. Ultimately, the brief argues that President Trump’s revised order violates both.

The McDermott lawyers who dedicated their time to drafting, reviewing, and filing the brief included James W. Kim, Mark Calaguas, David Gacioch, Jennifer Geetter, Andrew Genz, Matthew Girgenti, Emre Ilter, Neha Khandhadia, Philip Levine, Riley Orloff, Sara Raaii, Joshua Rogaczewski, Amandeep Sidhu, and Michael Stanek.* This brief is part of the Firm’s broader effort to assist clients in responding to the original and revised travel bans.

Immediately following the first Executive Order on January 27, 2017, McDermott lawyers from across all US offices mobilized to provide on-site counsel and support to refugees and their families at various airports across the country—advocating for those who otherwise have no voice. Since then, McDermott has assisted in coordinating efforts across the legal industry, especially in Washington, DC, to determine the most effective ways in which law firms can get involved to help those affected. On January 31, 2017, McDermott’s Washington, DC, office hosted a planning session with lawyers from peer firms to share insights and discuss strategies. And, on Wednesday, February 1, 2017, McDermott hosted a training provided by Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition to provide lawyers from around the firm and throughout the DC area with the background needed to effectively represent refugees. McDermott lawyers have also shared their insights through media interviews and key pieces of thought leadership, including What You Need to Know About President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Issues by Joan-Elisse Carpentier, and Trump rule freeze raises questions about two new privacy regulations, which includes commentary from Jennifer Geetter.

A copy of McDermott’s amicus brief on behalf of NAPABA in State of Hawaii v. Trump can be viewed here.

*NAPABA is also represented by local counsel at Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing with support from NAPABA Amicus Committee chair, Professor Radha Pathak of Whittier Law School.

About McDermott


McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.

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