June 26, 2018

Los Angeles, CA - Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund), issued the following statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the immigration ban targeting Muslims:

"Donald Trump is a religious bigot; demonstrations of his anti-Muslim bias are legion. The Supreme Court majority in Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion today in Trump v. Hawaii effectively acknowledges this incontrovertible fact. Then, to the eternal shame of each of the five justices joining the opinion, the majority employs the tiniest of fig leafs – premised on national security – to cover up and ignore overwhelming evidence that Trump’s anti-Muslim bias motivated the challenged exclusion of nationals of several specific nations.

"Today’s jurisprudential embarrassment has real, significant, and troubling consequences, stemming from the wrongheaded policy itself, as well as from the dangerous legal precedent. MALDEF calls upon the Congress to act forthwith to address both – through legislation that will impose appropriate constitution-based constraints against continued bigoted decision-making in the implementation of immigration policy by the current nativist administration.

"The Latino community is well aware of the ongoing history and contemporary fact of racial and religious bias in our nation’s immigration laws. This includes national origin quotas that discriminate directly against immigrants from certain nations, chiefly Mexico, and ongoing deportation/removal data that demonstrate the discriminatory targeting of Latino immigrants. Based on this ongoing experience, the Latino community cannot and will not ever support the targeting of any immigrants based on religion or national origin.

"National security has historically been used to justify any number of deplorable constitutional sins, and the majority’s willful and craven failure to address that context constitutes a manifest failure to dispense justice.

"The abandonment of sacred constitutional principle, as well as the inexplicable inattention to context, including the ample evidence of religious bigotry set forth in Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s courageous dissent, virtually ensure that today’s decision will eventually find itself in jurisprudential desuetude and ignominy, together with cases like Korematsu v. United States and Scott v. Sandford. Congress must act to hasten the decision’s arrival at its appropriate resting place."

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

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