On Tuesday, the second full weekday after Federal Judge James Robart issued a temporary restraining order halting President Trump’s executive order that temporarily blocked the issuance of visas for seven Middle Eastern countries and temporarily banned refugees from all countries, ten refugees arrived in the state of Washington.
None of them were Muslim. All ten were from the Ukraine, and were either Baptist, Evangelical Christian, Uniate (a branch of Christian denomination found in eastern Europe), or Pentecostalist, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
Across the rest of the country, it was a different story.
More than 75 percent of the 189 refugees who arrived in other parts of the United States on Tuesday, 151 in total, were Muslim, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
It was the ultimate irony, since Judge Robart based his decision on an argument from Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson that Trump’s executive order was unconstitutional because it was motivated by a desire to ban Muslims.
“Prior to his election, Donald Trump campaigned on the promise that he would ban Muslims from entering the United States,” Ferguson alleged in the Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief filed by the state of Washington with the United States District Court Western District of Washington on January 30, 2017:
On December 7, 2015, candidate Trump issued a press release calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” As of the date of this filing, the press release remains available on Trump’s campaign website and is attached hereto as Exhibit 1.
In defending his decision shortly thereafter, candidate Trump compared the Muslim ban to former President Franklin Roosevelt’s decision to intern Japanese Americans during World War II, and stated, “This is a president highly respected by all, [Roosevelt] did the same thing.” A media report of this interview is attached hereto as Exhibit 2.
On June 14, 2016, candidate Trump reiterated his promise to ban all Muslims entering this country until “we as a nation are in a position to properly and perfectly screenthose people coming into our country.”
“Section 3 of the Executive Order, if implemented, will result in substantial burdens on the exercise of religion by non-citizen immigrants by, for example, preventing them from exercising their religion while in detention, returning to their religious communities in Washington, and/or taking upcoming, planned religious travel abroad. Such burdens on religion violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Ferguson argued in the January 30 complaint.
In response to the Department of Justice’s appeal of Judge Robart’s decision to the 9th Federal Circuit Court, Ferguson restated that claim.
“Here, the State [of Washington] has plausibly alleged with sufficient particularity that the President acted in bad faith in an effort to target Muslims,” Ferguson argued in States’ Response to Emergency Motion Under Circuit Rule 27-3 for Administrative Stay and Motion for Stay Pending Appeal filed with the 9th Federal Circuit Court on February 6, continuing with that theme.
In the week between President Trump’s signing of the executive order on January 27 and Judge Robart’s issuance of the temporary restraining order halting it nationwide on February 3, the Trump administration granted waivers allowing 842 refugees to enter the country. One hundred and twenty-seven of those refugees, or 15 percent, were Muslim, according to the State Department’s interactive website.