She represented travelers detained at Dulles International Airport, a mother of two who carried her children through the international terminal one minute, and confronted immigration officials the next.
Sirine Shebaya prepared for a second-round fight against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban, an executive order set to take effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. But after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nation-wide temporary restraining order, Shebaya’s plans changed.
“My gut reaction was to jump up and down and dance with joy,” Shebaya said. “We had been hoping for a decision like this because we read Trump’s order as being ‘Muslim Ban 2.0.’”
U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson agreed, writing that a “reasonable, objective observer” enlightened by historical context, would conclude the revised travel ban has a primary goal of barring Muslims from entry into the country.
“There is nothing veiled about this press release, ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,’” Watson wrote. “The executive order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously-neutral purpose.”
At a campaign-style rally moments after the court order, Trump told the crowd he needed to be restrained in his criticism of the judiciary, and would take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This ruling makes us look weak, which by the way, we no longer are, believe me,” Trump said.
“The best way to keep foreign terrorists out, or as some would say, radical Islamic terrorists, from attacking our country, is to stop them from entering our country in the first place.”
The judge’s order extensively quoted from past Trump statements made on the campaign trail and on television, deeming them necessary to determine the ban’s true motivations.
“Everything about the comments and statements the president made and his spokespeople made still apply,” Shebaya said. “Even though the travel ban has been narrowed and restricted, it’s still very much motivated by discriminatory animus.”
The judge also rejected the notion that the ban is not anti-Muslim because not all Muslims around the world are temporarily banned from entry.
“It’s a fundamental flaw to think that the only way you can discriminate against any group of people is to discriminate against all of them at the same time,” Shebaya said. “You can actually start in chunks.”
A decision is expected Thursday in the similar case heard in Maryland, International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump. A federal judge in Washington state is also expected to rule in a third travel ban case by the end of the week.