With Professors in Limbo, UMass Joins Challenge to Trump Travel Ban

The lawsuit accuses Donald Trump’s executive order of being unconstitutional.

The University of Massachusetts joined a federal lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily halting entry to the country for people from seven mostly Muslim countries.

The lawsuit refers to two University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professors of Iranian descent who were detained at Boston’s Logan International Airport Saturday as they returned from a conference in Paris, according to the Cape Cod Times.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the professors, who were released after two federal judges issued a seven-day, temporary restraining order prohibiting federal officials from detaining refugees with approved applications or immigrants with valid visas or green cards.

Both professors are legal permanent residents of the United States.

On Jan. 27 Trump signed an order stopping immigration to the U.S. from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Libya for the next 90 days. Refugees from those countries will be banned from entry for 120 days. Refugees from Syria will be banned indefinitely.

The lawsuit calls for an extension to the restraining order and calls Trump’s executive order unconstitutional.

UMass President Martin Meehan, who also served in the U.S. House of Representatives, says the university system has 166 faculty and staff members from the seven affected countries and more than 300 students.

Also joining the lawsuit was Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Trump’s order has caused confusion at many airports as federal officials and airlines scramble to comply with the new policy. Mass protests have also broken out around the country.

Trump’s temporary travel ban has also caused uncertainty in some U.S. healthcare systems as refugees with serious medical conditions expected to be treated in the U.S. are now in a legal gray area, reports ABC News.

Although the executive order doesn’t currently include an exemption to the travel ban for those in need of medical treatment, on Jan. 31 Customs and Border Protection acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said waivers would be considered for refugees who’d been put through “undue hardship” and were “ready to travel.”

Read Next: Conn. Officials Look to Protect Students from Immigration Raids

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