SPLC sues Trump administration for failing to provide information on Muslim ban waiver process

The SPLC, Muslim Advocates and Americans United for Separation of Church and State jointly filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Trump administration, seeking to compel the release of critically important details about how a person can obtain a waiver under the president’s Muslim ban executive order.

The latest version of the Muslim ban, which goes into full effect on Oct. 18, has made the restrictions on the impacted nations indefinite. The waiver process will be one of the only ways people from the barred countries may be allowed to enter the United States.

However, the administration has not provided any meaningful information to the public on how to apply for the waiver or the standards to qualify for it, and has yet to release information about any granted waivers.

“President Trump’s Muslim ban is not only unconstitutional and un-American, it's also nontransparent,” said Naomi Tsu, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “The American people have a right to know how the Trump administration is treating travelers and immigrants who seek to visit our country or rejoin their families here.”

In June, the SPLC, Muslim Advocates and Americans United filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking for additional information about how the federal government intends to implement the case-by-case waiver provisions.

The administration has yet to comply with any part of that request, even though the statutory deadline for a response has long since passed. This latest lawsuit, named Muslim Advocates v. Department of Homeland Security, seeks to have that FOIA request fulfilled.

The SPLC, Americans United and Muslim Advocates also represent the plaintiffs in Universal Muslim Association of America v. Trump, a federal lawsuit that focuses on how the ban harms the American Muslim community.