Council on American-Islamic Relations files lawsuit challenging Trump executive order

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
CAIR files lawsuit challenging Trump executive order
CAIR announced it has filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced it has filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order on refugees.

Flanked by a dozen different groups, officials with CAIR said it was calling to question the constitutionality of the order and was working with other civil rights groups to help those impacted.

"Make no mistake, whatever language is used in this executive order, Muslims are the sole target of that order," Hussam Ayloush, the executive director CAIR-LA said.

MORE: Man kept from seeing wife, son in Los Angeles due to travel ban

"It is unfortunately impossible to know the full scope of the problem. We do not know exactly how many people have been detained in an unlawful manner," Caitlin Sanderson, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union stated.

White House Press Secretary defended the president's action during a press conference on Monday.

"There were 325,000 people that came into this country over a 24-hour period from another country, 109 of them were stopped for additional screening. We've got to keep this in proportion," Spicer exclaimed.

Spicer addressed the media after protests erupted in several cities across the country over the weekend, including thousands of demonstrators who descended on the Los Angeles International Airport who disrupted traffic.

MORE: President Donald Trump says his order didn't cause weekend airport chaos

"Since becoming president, he's continued to take steps through executive order and other ways to make sure that this country is as safe as it can be and we're ahead of every threat," Spicer continued.

But CAIR officials said the additional screening wasn't necessary.

MORE: Refugee family at LAX awaits arrival of cancer-stricken mother

"Refugees coming to America are the most vetted of all those entering into our country," Ayloush proclaimed. "They go through multiple levels of screenings."

Officials at the University of California, Irvine, said they were checking their legal options to try to protect students and faculty from the executive order targeting seven Muslim-majority countries.

They've recommended that students and staff from those countries not travel outside the U.S.

"Be very cautious about doing that because if you do you may not be able to come back, but also trying to ascertain whether or not we have people on current travel now on university business who are outside the country that we may need to monitor," Dr. Thomas Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Irvine explained.