[MEDIA RELEASE] JACL Honolulu Joins Korematsu Center in Filing Amicus Brief in Hawaii v. Trump


March 14, 2017

The Japanese American Citizens League – Honolulu Chapter (JACL-Honolulu) joined the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality (Korematsu Center) and others in filing an amicus brief on March 10, 2017, in State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh v. Trump et al., pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. The brief supports a legal challenge to the Trump Administration’s Executive Order 13780 (March 6, 2017), entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which replaces Executive Order 13769 (January 27, 2017), of the same title.

The challengers allege that the Executive Order violates the First and Fifth Amendments, the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
In their amicus brief, the Korematsu Center and joining amici assert that courts can and should review executive branch action on immigration. The “plenary power doctrine”—arguably conferring a blank check to the executive branch—is based on a string of overtly racist and outdated cases. During World War II, the federal government used arguments similar to those it has submitted in opposing the State of Hawaii’s challenge. In accepting those arguments then, the Court acquiesced to the incarceration of Japanese Americans by executive order. Those arguments should have been rejected then and they should be rejected now—the 9th Circuit and the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia have already rejected them in their review of the previous Executive Order.  
“The JACL-Honolulu has a proud history of standing up to those who misuse their power to discriminate against groups based on ethnicity or religion. Seventy-five years ago another administration tragically instituted Executive Order 9066, which led to the wrongful incarceration of thousands of American citizens. We must not let prejudice and racism enter the sphere of public policy again. We oppose the current administration’s discriminatory executive orders and we stand strong with our community,” said Alison Kunishige, JACL-Honolulu president.
Hawaii counsel includes Louise Ing and Claire Wong Black of Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, as well as Eric Yamamoto of the University of Hawaii Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law. Oral arguments in the State of Hawaii case are scheduled for March 15, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. Hawaii time.
For further information, please email jaclhon@gmail.com.