Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Filing an Amicus Brief in Darweesh vs. Trump: “People who risked their lives to support and protect our troops in Iraq deserve better”

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the Eastern District of New York in Darweesh v. Trump, a case involving two visa holders who were detained by officers and denied entry at John F. Kennedy International Airport due to the Trump Administration’s travel ban despite having demonstrated considerable loyalty to the United States.

Hameed Khalid Darweesh (“Darweesh”) and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi (“Alshawi”), were threatened with violence in Iraq due to work they and their families did for the U.S. government. Each underwent extensive vetting for more than two years in order to obtain visas to enter the United States.  Darweesh was denied entry despite holding an Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa for which he was eligible due to his work as an interpreter and engineer for the United States in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.  Alshawi was denied entry despite holding a “Follow to Join” visa in order to join his spouse and child, who reside as lawful permanent residents in Houston, Texas. 

Attorney General Becerra released the following statement after the filing:

“People who risked their lives by helping us in Iraq – and have undergone extensive vetting to come to the United States – deserve better. When individuals stick their neck out for the United States, we should reward them by showing them that we have their back. No patriotic American would expect anything less. I am pleased to join with attorneys general from around the nation to stand up for these brave people and their families, whom we owe so much.”

The brief filed by Attorney General Becerra urges the court to extend the preliminary relief obtained by Darweesh and Alshawi in light of the broad harms the travel ban has already inflicted, as well as the future harm that will be caused by disturbing the status quo. The brief argues the public interest weighs strongly in favor of preliminary relief based on the injuries the travel ban has inflicted not only on individual visa holders and refugees, but also more broadly on the public and the States themselves.

California was joined in filing the amicus brief by Massachusetts, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Xavier Becerra joined 15 state attorneys general in filing  a friend-of-the-court brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in State of Washington v. Trump, and 16 state attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Eastern District Court of Virginia in Aziz v. Trump, additional cases that also challenge the Trump Administration’s unconstitutional and un-American travel ban.

In addition, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with the state attorneys general from Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case involving the federal government’s authority to detain non-citizens pending completion of their removal proceedings.

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