One of the most important American men at the moment is a federal judge in Seattle. After several hearings on Wednesday, including one on a suit introduced to the court on behalf of four U.S. citizens and their families abroad who argue that their ability to obtain visas could be suspended by the revised travel ban which is set to be enforced on Thursday at 12:01am EST, the judge could decide to block the executive order that halts for 90 days the issuances of visas to six Muslim-majority countries; hearings on Wednesday regarding the travel ban are also occurring in Maryland and Hawaii.
Responsible for neutralizing the President’s momentum after he signed his original executive order, which impacted seven countries rather than six and caused widespread protests nationwide, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart has become highly sought after and his case load has been steadily increasing since late January, with Philadelphia, as apart of a larger cohort of cities, now adding to the docket.
The Philadelphia City Solicitor, Mr. Sozi Tulante, in a press release distributed Wednesday afternoon which announced that Philadelphia is among two dozen U.S. cities that filed an amicus brief in the federal district court in Seattle where six states – Washington among them –have again challenged Mr. Donald J. Trump’s attempt to restrict travel, called the revision “still legally flawed.”
Not often quoted in local media nor seen on television, Mr. Tulante heads the City’s legal department and on Wednesday asserted that not only is the revised travel ban illegal, it “hurts Philadelphia and offends the values that make this City a welcoming place for refugees fleeing persecution and for immigrants seeking to start a new life.”
Philadelphia, a sanctuary city, which means that local law enforcement won’t cooperate with federal immigration agents in detaining undocumented immigrants, is home to roughly 1.5 million people and 14 percent of them were born in other countries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And in 2013, immigrants made up 14 percent of Philadelphia business owners, including 23 percent of retail stores owners and 34 percent of restaurant owners. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, in a recent interview, told me he’d take all the immigrants possible because they benefit, not burden, the City.
The amicus brief filed by a cluster of cities echoes the Mayor’s sentiment that immigrants make a vital contribution to our cities and country, points out that classifications based on religion and natural origin are “presumptively invalid,” and argues that the travel ban is misguided and unconstitutional.
Ms. Miriam Enriquez, Philadelphia’s Director of Immigrant Affairs, in a statement said:
“I’m proud that Philadelphia has joined with other cities throughout our nation to oppose the revised travel ban. This reinforces Philadelphia’s commitment to protecting our immigrant and refugee communities, and to being a welcoming city to all.”
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