CNN producer files lawsuit against Trump admin’s immigration order

CNN producer files lawsuit against Trump admin’s immigration order
Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

One CNN producer who was detained in Atlanta’s airport following President Donald Trump’s executive order banning entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries is suing the White House.

Mohammed Tawfeeq, an Iraqi national, became a permanent legal resident of the United States in 2013, and as an editor for CNN, he frequently travels to the Middle East as part of his work duties, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

When he arrived at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Sunday, he was briefly detained and subjected to additional screening that ultimately delayed his re-entry into the U.S., the lawsuit claims, according to the AJC. It is not immediately clear where Tawfeeq was traveling from, though his latest report at CNN is from Irbil, Iraq.

Trump’s executive action bars entry into the country for people traveling from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia for 90 days with an indefinite ban placed on would-be visa applicants from Syria. The order also institutes a 120-day freeze on the U.S.’s refugee resettlement program.

“The executive order has greatly increased the uncertainty involved in current and future international travel for returning lawful permanent residents like Mr. Tawfeeq,” the suit states.

Tawfeeq has filed a lawsuit against the departments of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection and is seeking a declaration of his rights under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The lawsuit argues that applying the executive order to lawful permanent residents of the U.S. or green card holders returning from an international trip violates not only the Immigration and Nationality Act but is also in breach of the Constitution.

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act states, “No person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.”

Tawfeeq’s lawsuit also asserts that the brief questioning the CNN producer was subjected to violates his constitutional rights as a permanent legal U.S. resident.

Just hours after Trump signed the order Friday, lawyers descended on airports around the country as the order caused confusion about what to do with people on flights coming in from the seven banned countries.

In a statement to the AJC, Bridget Leininger, a spokeswoman for CNN, said the network supports Tawfeeq.

“This is a basic request to clarify and assert his rights under the law. We support him in this effort and hope its resolved quickly,” she said.