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International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

May 25, 2017

INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE ASSISTANCE PROJECT, a project of the Urban Justice Center, Inc., on behalf of itself; HIAS, INC., on behalf of itself and its clients; MIDDLE EAST STUDIES ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA, INC., on behalf of itself and its members; MUHAMMED METEAB; PAUL HARRISON; IBRAHIM AHMED MOHOMED; JOHN DOES #1 & 3; JANE DOE #2, Plaintiffs - Appellees,
v.
DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President of the United States; DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; DEPARTMENT OF STATE; OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE; JOHN F. KELLY, in his official capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security; REX W. TILLERSON, in his official capacity as Secretary of State; DANIEL R. COATS, in his official capacity as Director of National Intelligence, Defendants-Appellants. STATE OF TEXAS; STATE OF ALABAMA; STATE OF ARIZONA; STATE OF ARKANSAS; STATE OF FLORIDA; STATE OF KANSAS; STATE OF LOUISIANA; STATE OF MONTANA; STATE OF OKLAHOMA; STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA; STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA; STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA; PHIL BRYANT, Governor of the State of Mississippi; AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE; SOUTHERN LEGAL FOUNDATION, INC.; AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS UNION; IMMIGRATION REFORM LAW INSTITUTE; U.S. JUSTICE FOUNDATION; CITIZENS UNITED; CITIZENS UNITED FOUNDATION; ENGLISH FIRST FOUNDATION; ENGLISH FIRST; PUBLIC ADVOCATE OF THE UNITED STATES; GUN OWNERS FOUNDATION; GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA; CONSERVATIVE LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND; U.S. BORDER CONTROL FOUNDATION; POLICY ANALYSIS CENTER; VICTOR WILLIAMS, Amici Supporting Appellants, INTERFAITH COALITION; COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES; T.A.; COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA; STATE OF MARYLAND; STATE OF CALIFORNIA; STATE OF CONNECTICUT; STATE OF DELAWARE; STATE OF ILLINOIS; STATE OF IOWA; STATE OF MAINE; STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS; STATE OF NEW MEXICO; STATE OF NEW YORK; STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA; STATE OF OREGON; STATE OF RHODE ISLAND; STATE OF VERMONT; STATE OF WASHINGTON; DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; CITY OF CHICAGO; CITY OF LOS ANGELES; CITY OF NEW YORK; CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; CITY COUNCIL OF NEW YORK; MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK; CITY OF AUSTIN; CITY OF BOSTON; MARTIN J. WALSH, Mayor of Boston; TOWN OF CARRBORO; JAMES A. DIOSSA, Mayor of Central Falls, Rhode Island; COOK COUTNY, ILLINOIS; CITY OF GARY; CITY OF IOWA CITY; SVANTE L. MYRICK, Mayor of Ithaca; CITY OF JERSEY CITY; CITY OF MADISON; CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS; MONTGOMERY COUNTY; CITY OF NEW HAVEN; TONI N. HARP, Mayor of New Haven; CITY OF OAKLAND; CITY OF PORTLAND; CITY OF PROVIDENCE; JORGE O. ELORZA, Mayor of Providence; CITY OF ST. LOUIS; CITY OF SAINT PAUL; CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO; COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO; CITY OF SAN JOSE; SANTA CLARA COUNTY; CITY OF SANTA MONICA; CITY OF SEATTLE; VILLAGE OF SKOKIE; CITY OF SOUTH BEND; CITY OF TUCSON; CITY OF WEST HOLLYWOOD; FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS; MEMBERS OF THE CLERGY; RIVERSIDE CHURCH IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK; AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH & STATE; BEND THE ARC; A JEWISH PARTNERSHIP FOR JUSTICE; SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER; AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE; NEW YORK UNIVERSITY; RODERICK & SOLANGE MACARTHUR JUSTICE CENTER; HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW CIVIL RIGHTS CLINIC; UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS & HIGHER EDUCATION ASSOCIATIONS; INTERNATIONAL LAW SCHOLARS; NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS; ISMAIL ELSHIKH; ANT-DEFAMATION LEAGUE; JEWISH COUNCIL FOR PUCLIC AFFAIRS; UNION FOR REFORM JUDAISM; CENTRAL CONFERENCE OF AMERICAN RABBIS; WOMEN OF REFORM JUDAISM; AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION; MUSLIM JUSTICE LEAGUE; MUSLIM PUBLIC AFFAIRS COUNCIL; ISLAMIC CIRCLE OF NORTH AMERICA; COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS; ASIAN AMERICANS ADVANCING JUSTICE-ASIAN LAW CAUCUS; NATIONAL IMMIGRANT JUSTICE CENTER; ASISTA; AMERICANS FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE; FUTURES WITHOUT VIOLENCE; NORTH CAROLINA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; SANCTUARY FOR FAMILIES; MEMBERS OF CONGRESS; SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION; AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS; HISTORY PROFESSORS & SCHOLARS; LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW; CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS; SOUTHERN COALITION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE; NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS; JUDGE DAVID L. BAZELTON CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH LAW; CHICAGO LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER LAW; MISSISSIPPI CENTER FOR JUSTICE; WASHINGTON LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS; TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES; FRED T. KOREMATSU CENTER FOR LAW & EQUALITY; JAY HIRABAYASHI; HOLLY YASUI; KAREN KOREMATSU; CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS; NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATIONS OF COLOR; FOUNDATION FOR THE CHILDREN OF IRAN; IRANIAN ALLIANCES ACROSS BORDERS; MASSACHUSETTS TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL; EPISCOPAL BISHOPS; IMMIGRATION LAW SCHOLARS & CLINICIANS ON STATUTORY CLAIMS; FORMER FEDERAL IMMIGRATION & HOMELAND SECURITY OFFICIALS; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW SCHOLARS; MEDICAL INSTITUTIONS; ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS; INDIVIDUAL PHYSICIANS; TAHIRIH JUSTICE CENTER; ASIAN PACIFIC INSTITUTE ON GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE; CASA DE ESPERANZA; NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE; INTERFAITH GROUP OF RELIGIOUS & INTERRELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS; OXFAM AMERICA, INC.; CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSORS; AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE; MUSLIM RIGHTS, PROFESSIONAL & PUBLIC HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS; CATO INSTITUTE; NATIONAL ASSIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION; ASSOCIATION OF ART MUSEUM DIRECTORS; AMERICAN ALLIANCE OF MUSEUMS; COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION; 94 ART MUSEUMS; AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY ON THE ABUSE OF CHILDREN; ADVOCATES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS; ASIAN LAW ALLIANCE; ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN NETWORK OF OREGON; CASA; COMMUNITY REFUGEE & IMMIGRATION SERVICES; INTEGRATED REFUGEE & IMMIGRANT SERVICES; IMMIGRANT LAW CENTER OF MINNESOTA; SOUTHEAST ASIA RESOURCE ACTION CENTER; IMMIGRANT RIGHTS CLINIC OF WASHINGTON; SQUARE LEGAL SERVICES, INC.; AIRPORT ATTORNEYS COALITION, Amici Supporting Appellees.

          Argued: May 8, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt. Theodore D. Chuang, District Judge. (8:17-cv-00361-TDC)

         ARGUED:

          Jeffrey Bryan Wall, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellants.

          Omar C. Jadwat, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, New York, New York, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Edwin S. Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General, Chad A. Readler, Acting Assistant Attorney General, August E. Flentje, Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General, Douglas N. Letter, Sharon Swingle, H. Thomas Byron III, Lowell V. Sturgill, Jr., Civil Division, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C.; Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants.

          Justin B. Cox, Atlanta, Georgia, Karen C. Tumlin, Nicholas Espίritu, Melissa S. Keaney, Esther Sung, Marielena Hincapié, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER, Los Angeles, California; Lee Gelernt, Hina Shamsi, Hugh Handeyside, Sarah L. Mehta, Spencer E. Amdur, New York, New York, Cecillia D. Wang, Cody H. Wofsy, San Francisco, California, David Cole, Daniel Mach, Heather L. Weaver, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION, Washington, D.C.; David Rocah, Deborah A. Jeon, Sonia Kumar, Nicholas Taichi Steiner, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellees. Ken Paxton, Attorney General, Jeffrey C. Mateer, First Assistant Attorney General, Scott A. Keller, Solicitor General, J. Campbell Barker, Deputy Solicitor General, Ari Cuenin, Assistant Solicitor General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS, Austin, Texas; Steven T. Marshall, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ALABAMA, Montgomery, Alabama; Mark Brnovich, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ARIZONA, Phoenix, Arizona; Leslie Rutledge, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ARKANSAS, Little Rock, Arkansas; Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF FLORIDA, Tallahassee, Florida; Derek Schmidt, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF KANSAS, Topeka, Kansas; Jeff Landry, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LOUISIANA, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tim Fox, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MONTANA, Helena, Montana; Mike Hunter, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Alan Wilson, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Columbia, South Carolina; Marty J. Jackley, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF SOUTH DAKOTA, Pierre, South Dakota; Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF WEST VIRGINIA, Charleston, West Virginia; Phil Bryant, Governor, OFFICE OF GOVERNOR PHIL BRYANT, Jackson, Mississippi, for Amici States of Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Governor Phil Bryant of the State of Mississippi. Robert D. Fram, Alexandra P. Grayner, Kathryn Bi, San Francisco, California, Kevin B. Collins, William E. Zapf, Ligia M. Markman, Karun Tilak, Michael Baker, Andrew Guy, COVINGTON & BURLING LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Interfaith Coalition. Thomas J. Perrelli, Lindsay C. Harrison, Erica L. Ross, Tassity S. Johnson, JENNER & BLOCK LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Colleges and Universities. Jay Alan Sekulow, Stuart J. Roth, Colby M. May, Andrew J. Ekonomou, Jordon Sekulow, Craig L. Parshall, Matthew R. Clark, Benjamin P. Sisney, Washington, D.C., Edward L. White III, Erik M. Zimmerman, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Francis J. Manion, Geoffrey R. Surtees, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE, New Hope, Kentucky, for Amicus American Center for Law and Justice. Kimberly S. Hermann, SOUTHEASTERN LEGAL FOUNDATION, Marietta, Georgia; William S. Consovoy, CONSOVOY MCCARTHY PARK PLLC, Arlington, Virginia, for Amicus Southeastern Legal Foundation. Kenneth A. Klukowski, AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS UNION, Alexandria, Virginia, for Amicus American Civil Rights Union. Joseph W. Miller, UNITED STATES JUSTICE FOUNDATION, Ramona, California, for Amicus U.S. Justice Foundation. Michael Boos, Washington, D.C., for Amici Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation. William J. Olson, Herbert W. Titus, Jeremiah L. Morgan, Robert J. Olson, WILLIAM J. OLSON, P.C., Vienna, Virginia, for Amici U.S. Justice Foundation, Citizens United, Citizens United Foundation, English First Foundation, English First, Public Advocate of the United States, Gun Owners Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund, U.S. Border Control Foundation, and Policy Analysis Center. Christopher J. Hajec, Michael M. Hethmon, Elizabeth A. Hohenstein, Mark S. Venezia, IMMIGRATION REFORM LAW INSTITUTE, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Immigration Reform Law Institute.

          Terrance Nolan, General Counsel and Secretary, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, New York, New York; Steven E. Obus, Seth D. Fiur, Tiffany M. Woo, PROSKAUER ROSE LLP, New York, New York, for Amicus New York University. Victor Williams, AMERICA FIRST LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, Bethesda, Maryland, Amicus Pro Se. Richard D. Bernstein, WILLKIE FARR & GALLAGHER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus T.A. Harold Hongju Koh, Hope Metcalf, Rule of Law Clinic, YALE LAW SCHOOL, New Haven, Connecticut; William J. Murphy, John J. Connolly, ZUCKERMAN SPAEDER LLP, Baltimore, Maryland; Jonathan M. Freiman, Tahlia Townsend, WIGGIN AND DANA LLP, New Haven, Connecticut, for Amicus Former National Security Officials. Amir H. Ali, RODERICK & SOLANGE MACARTHUR JUSTICE CENTER, Washington, D.C., for Amicus The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center. Elisabeth C. Frost, Amanda R. Callais, Washington, D.C., Joseph M. McMillan, Michelle L. Maley, PERKINS COIE LLP, Seattle, Washington; Aaron X. Fellmeth, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR COLLEGE OF LAW, Phoenix, Arizona; Jonathan Hafetz, SETON HALL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Newark, New Jersey, for Amici International Law Scholars and Non-Governmental Organizations. Neal Kumar Katyal, Colleen Roh Sinzdak, Mitchell P. Reich, Elizabeth Hagerty, Washington, D.C., Sara Solow, Alexander B. Bowerman, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Thomas P. Schmidt, HOGAN LOVELLS U.S. LLP, New York, New York, for Amicus Dr. Ismail Elshikh. David E. Mills, Alyssa T. Saunders, COOLEY LLP, Washington, D.C.; John B. Harris, Jeremy Goldman, Caren Decter, Jessica Smith, Rayna Lopyan, Lily Landsman-Roos, Lakendra Barajas, FRANKFURT KURNIT KLEIN & SELZ, P.C., New York, New York, for Amici Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and Women of Reform Judaism. Doron F. Ezickson, Washington, D.C., Steven M. Freeman, Lauren A. Jones, Melissa Garlick, Michael Lieberman, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE, New York, New York, for Amicus Anti-Defamation League.

          David Bohm, DANNA MCKINTRICK, P.C., St. Louis, Missouri, for Amicus Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Ryan P. Poscablo, Brian Neff, Eliberty Lopez, New York, New York, Nick Kahlon, RILEY SAFER HOLMES & CANCILA, LLP, Chicago, Illinois; Edward N. Siskel, Corporation Counsel, Benna Ruth Solomon, Deputy Corporation Counsel, CITY OF CHICAGO, Chicago, Illinois, for Amicus City of Chicago. Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, CITY OF NEW YORK, New York, New York, for Amicus Mayor and City Council of New York. Sozi Pedro Tulante, City Solicitor, CITY OF PHILADELPHIA LAW DEPARTMENT, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Amicus City of Philadelphia. Anne L. Morgan, City Attorney, CITY OF AUSTIN LAW DEPARTMENT, Austin, Texas, for Amicus City of Austin. Eugene L. O'Flaherty, Corporation Counsel, CITY OF BOSTON, Boston, Massachusetts, for Amici City of Boston and Mayor Martin J. Walsh. G. Nicholas Herman, General Counsel, THE BROUGH LAW FIRM, PLLC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for Amicus Town of Carrboro. Matthew T. Jerzyk, City Solicitor, OFFICE OF THE CITY SOLICITOR, Central Falls, Rhode Island, for Amicus James A. Diossa. Kimberly M. Foxx, States Attorney for Cook County, Office of the States Attorney, Chicago, Illinois, for Amicus Cook County, Illinois. Michael N. Feuer, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES, Los Angeles, California, for Amicus City of Los Angeles.

          Gregory L. Thomas, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Gary, Indiana, for Amicus City of Gary. Eleanor M. Dilkes, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Iowa City, Iowa, for Amicus City of Iowa City. Aaron O. Lavine, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Ithaca, New York, for Amicus Svante L. Myrick. Jeremy Farrell, Corporation Counsel, JERSEY CITY LAW DEPARTMENT, Jersey City, New Jersey, for Amicus City of Jersey City. Michael P. May, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Madison, Wisconsin, for Amicus City of Madison. Susan L. Segal, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Amicus City of Minneapolis. Marc P. Hansen, County Attorney, COUNTY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Rockville, Maryland, for Amicus Montgomery County. John Rose, Jr., Corporation Counsel, CITY OF NEW HAVEN, New Haven, Connecticut, for Amici City of New Haven and Mayor Toni N. Harp. Barbara J. Parker, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Oakland, California, for Amicus Oakland. Tracy Reeve, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Portland, Oregon, for Amicus Portland. Jeffrey Dana, City Solicitor, OFFICE OF THE CITY SOLICITOR, Providence, Rhode Island, for Amici City of Providence and Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. Michael A. Garvin, City Counselor, CITY OF ST. LOUIS LAW DEPARTMENT, St Louis, Missouri, for City of St. Louis. Samuel J. Clark, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for Amicus City of Saint Paul. Dennis J. Herrera, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, San Francisco, California, for Amici City and County of San Francisco. Richard Doyle, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, San José, California, for Amicus City of San José. James R. Williams, County Counsel, OFFICE OF THE COUNTY COUNSEL, San José, California, for Amicus Santa Clara County. Joseph Lawrence, Interim City Attorney, CITY OF SANTA MONICA, Santa Monica, California, for Amicus City of Santa Monica. Peter S. Holmes, Seattle City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Seattle, Washington, for Amicus City of Seattle. Michael M. Lorge, Corporation Counsel, VILLAGE OF SKOKIE, Skokie, Illinois, for Amicus Village of Skokie. Cristal Brisco, Corporation Counsel, CITY OF SOUTH BEND DEPARTMENT OF LAW, South Bend Indiana, for Amicus South Bend. Michael Rankin, City Attorney, CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Tucson, Arizona, for Amicus City of Tucson. Michael Jenkins, JENKINS & HOGIN, LLP, Manhattan Beach, California, for Amicus West Hollywood. Sidney S. Rosdeitcher, Aidan Synnott, Erin J. Morgan, Arianna Markel, Jared S. Stein, New York, New York; Linda A. Klein, President, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, Chicago, Illinois, for Amicus American Bar Association. Amy Briggs, John W. McGuinness, Sirena Castillo, Matthew Bottomly, Olufunmilayo Showole, Ketakee Kane, Benjamin G. Shatz, MANATT, PHELPS & PHILLIPS, LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Amici Muslim Justice League, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Islamic Circle of North America, Council on American-Islamic Relations, California, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus. Mark R. Herring, Attorney General, Stuart A. Raphael, Solicitor General, Trevor S. Cox, Deputy Solicitor General, Matthew R. McGuire, Assistant Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF VIRGINIA, Richmond, Virginia; Brian E. Frosh, Attorney General, Steven M. Sullivan, Solicitor General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MARYLAND, Baltimore, Maryland; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA, Sacramento, California; Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OREGON, Salem, Oregon; George Jepson, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CONNECTICUT, Hartford, Connecticut; Matthew P. Denn, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DELAWARE, Wilmington, Delaware; Lisa Madigan, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ILLINOIS, Chicago, Illinois; Tom Miller, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF IOWA, Des Moines, Iowa; Janet T. Mills, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MAINE, Augusta, Maine; Maura Healey, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS, Boston, Massachusetts; Hector Balderas, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW MEXICO, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Eric T. Schneiderman, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW YORK, New York, New York; Josh Stein, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NORTH CAROLINA, Raleigh, North Carolina; Peter F. Kilmartin, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF RHODE ISLAND, Providence, Rhode Island; Thomas J. Donovan, Jr., Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF VERMONT, Montpelier, Vermont; Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF WASHINGTON, Olympia, Washington; Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, D.C., for Amici Commonwealth of Virginia, States of Maryland, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia. Katherine K. Huang, Carlos A. Singer, HUANG YBARRA SINGER & MAY LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Amicus History Professors and Scholars. Charles Roth, NATIONAL IMMIGRANT JUSTICE CENTER, Chicago, Illinois; Robert N. Hochman, Nathaniel C. Love, SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP, Chicago, Illinois, for Amicus National Immigrant Justice Center. Gail Pendleton, ASISTA, Suffield, Connecticut, for Amicus ASISTA. Linda A. Seabrook, General Counsel, FUTURES WITHOUT VIOLENCE, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Futures Without Violence. Carmen Maria Rey, SANCTUARY FOR FAMILIES CENTER FOR BATTERED WOMEN'S LEGAL SERVICES, New York, New York, for Amicus Sanctuary for Families. Jennie Santos-Bourne, AMERICAN FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE, Miami, Florida, for Amicus Americans for Immigrant Justice. Amily K. McCool, NORTH CAROLINA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, Durham, North Carolina, for Amicus North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Peter Karanjia, Jason Harrow, Washington, D.C., Victor A. Kovner, DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE LLP, New York, New York; Elizabeth B. Wydra, Brianne J. Gorod, David H. Gans, CONSTITUTIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY CENTER, Washington, D.C.; Raymond H. Brescia, Associate Professor of Law, ALBANY LAW SCHOOL, Albany, New York, for Amicus 165 Members of Congress. Lynne Bernabei, Alan R. Kabat, BERNABEI & KABAT, PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Ted G. Dane, Thomas P. Clancy, MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Amici Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Center for Reproductive Rights, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mississippi Center for Justice, and The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. Andrew J. Pincus, Paul W. Hughes, MAYER BROWN LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Technology Companies. Robert S. Chang, Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, SEATTLE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Seattle, Washington; Eric Yamamoto, Fred T. Korematsu Professor of Law and Social Justice, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII WILLIAM S. RICHARDSON SCHOOL OF LAW, Honolulu, Hawaii; Pratik A. Shah, Martine E. Cicconi, Washington, D.C., Jessica M. Weisel, Los Angeles, California, Robert A. Johnson, Alice Hsu, AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP, New York, New York, for Amici The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality, Jay Hirabayashi, Holly Yasui, Karen Korematsu, Civil Rights Organizations, and National Bar Associations of Color. Kevin P. Martin, Nicholas K. Mitrokostas, William B. Brady, Joshua M. Daniels, Alicia Rubio, Eileen L. Morrison, GOODWIN PROCTER LLP, Boston, Massachusetts, for Amici The Foundation for the Children of Iran and Iranian Alliances Across Borders. Nicole G. Berner, Claire Prestel, Deborah L. Smith, Leo Gertner, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION, Washington, D.C.; Steve W. Berman, HAGENS BERMAN SOBOL SHAPIRO LLP, Seattle, Washington, for Amicus Service Employees International Union. Judith Rivlin, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, Washington, D.C., for Amicus American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. David J. Strom, Channing M. Cooper, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, Washington, D.C., for American Federation of Teachers. Eli Glasser, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Michael J. Gottlieb, Joshua Riley, Isra Bhatty, J. Wells Harrell, Cain Norris, Aaron E. Nathan, BOIES SCHILLER FLEXNER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Former Federal Immigration and Homeland Security Officials. Michael R. Scott, Amit D. Ranade, Lisa J. Chaiet Rahman, HILLIS CLARK MARTIN & PETERSON P.S., Seattle, Washington, for Amicus Episcopal Bishops. Joshua Matz, ROBBINS, RUSSELL, ENGLERT, ORSECK, UNTEREINER & SAUBER LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Constitutional Law Scholars. Scott L. Winkelman, Luke van Houwelingen, Avi Rutschman, Justin Kingsolver, CROWELL & MORING LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amici Tahirih Justice Center, The Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Casa De Esperanza, and The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Jennifer K. Brown, Amanda Aikman, New York, New York, Bradley D. Wine, Sandeep N. Nandivada, McLean, Virginia, Marc A. Hearron, Washington, D.C., Purvi G. Patel, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Amicus Interfaith Group of Religious and Interreligious Organizations. Christopher Mortweet, Menlo Park, California, Richard P. Bress, Elana Nightingale Dawson, Alexandra P. Shechtel, LATHAM & WATKINS LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Oxfam America, Inc. Kristi L. Graunke, Gillian Gillers, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER, Atlanta, Georgia; Richard B. Katskee, Eric Rothschild, Andrew L. Nellis, Kelly M. Percival, Bradley Girard, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE, Washington, D.C., for Amici Members of the Clergy, The Riverside Church in the City of New York, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Bend the Arc, A Jewish Partnership for Justice, and The Southern Poverty Law Center. Catherine Y. Kim, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Judith Resnik, YALE LAW SCHOOL, New Haven, Connecticut; Fred A. Rowley, Jr., John L. Schwab, Los Angeles, California, Aaron D. Pennekamp, MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON, LLP, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Constitutional Law Professors. Marc D. Stern, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE, New York, New York; Adam S. Lurie, Vijaya R. Palaniswamy, Caitlin K. Potratz, Sean M. Solomon, LINKLATERS LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus The American Jewish Committee. Daniel Braun, Peter Jaffe, Lauren Kaplin, Washington, D.C., David Y. Livshiz, Karen Wiswall, FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER U.S. LLP, New York, New York, for Amicus Cato Institute. Farhana Khera, Johnathan J. Smith, Aziz Huq, MUSLIM ADVOCATES, Oakland, California; Robert A. DeRise, Washington, D.C., Anton Ware, ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP, San Francisco, California, for Amicus Muslim Rights, Professional and Public Health Organizations. Avi Gesser, Kelsey Clark, Joseph Garmon, Alex Messiter, Jennifer Prevete, Ilan Stein, DAVIS POLK & WARDWELL LLP, New York, New York, for Amici The Association of Art Museum Directors, The American Alliance of Museums, The College Art Association, and 94 Art Museums. Mary Kelly Persyn, PERSYN LAW & POLICY, San Francisco, California, for Amicus American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. Alina Das, WASHINGTON SQUARE LEGAL SERVICES, New York, New York, for Amici Advocates for Human Rights, Asian Law Alliance, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, CASA, Community Refugee & Immigration Services, Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Immigrant Rights Clinic of Washington Square Legal Services, Inc., Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, and The Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. Michael B. Roberts, Karen Lee Lust, Kristin C. Davis, REED SMITH LLP, Washington, D.C.; Sirine Shebaya, Washington, D.C.; Mirriam Seddiq, SEDDIQ LAW FIRM, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for Amicus Airport Attorneys Coalition. Yolanda C. Rondon, AMERICAN-ARAB ANTI- DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE, Washington, D.C., for Amicus American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Gare A. Smith, Michael B. Keating, Kristyn M. DeFilipp, Christopher E. Hart, Daniel L. McFadden, FOLEY HOAG LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council, Inc. Tina R. Matsuoka, Navdeep Singh, Meredith S.H. Higashi, Rachana Pathak, Albert Giang, NATIONAL ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, Washington, D.C.; Joshua David Rogaczewski, James W. Kim, Philip J. Levine, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY LLP, Washington, D.C., for Amicus National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. Fatma E. Marouf, Professor of Law, Director, Immigrant Rights Clinic, TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Fort Worth, Texas, for Amicus Immigration Law Scholars and Clinicians on Statutory Claims. Manvin S. Mayell, Gregory J. Wallance, Steven G. Tepper, Jessica Heller, Colleen Lima, G. Alex Sinha, Thomas A. Bird, ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP, New York, New York, for Amici Medical Institutions, Advocacy Organizations, and Individual Physicians. Karla McKanders, Civil Rights Clinic, Darin Johnson, Visiting Professor, HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Washington, D.C., for Amicus University Professors and Higher Education Associations.

          Before GREGORY, Chief Judge, and NIEMEYER, MOTZ, TRAXLER, KING, SHEDD, AGEE, KEENAN, WYNN, DIAZ, FLOYD, THACKER, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.

          GREGORY, Chief Judge [1]

         The question for this Court, distilled to its essential form, is whether the Constitution, as the Supreme Court declared in Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2, 120 (1866), remains "a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace." And if so, whether it protects Plaintiffs' right to challenge an Executive Order that in text speaks with vague words of national security, but in context drips with religious intolerance, animus, and discrimination. Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles-that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy, or favor or disfavor one religion over another. Congress granted the President broad power to deny entry to aliens, but that power is not absolute. It cannot go unchecked when, as here, the President wields it through an executive edict that stands to cause irreparable harm to individuals across this nation. Therefore, for the reasons that follow, we affirm in substantial part the district court's issuance of a nationwide preliminary injunction as to Section 2(c) of the challenged Executive Order.

         I.

         A.

         In the early evening of January 27, 2017-seven days after taking the oath of office-President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Order 13769, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States" ("EO-1" or "First Executive Order"), 82 Fed. Reg. 8977 (Jan. 27, 2017). Referencing the past and present failings of the visa-issuance process, the First Executive Order had the stated purpose of "protect[ing] the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals." EO-1, Preamble. To protect Americans, EO-1 explained, the United States must ensure that it does not admit foreign nationals who "bear hostile attitudes" toward our nation and our Constitution, who would "place violent ideologies over American law, " or who "engage in acts of bigotry or hatred" (such as "'honor' killings"). Id. § 1.

         To that end, the President invoked his authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) and immediately suspended for ninety days the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry of foreign aliens from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.[2] See EO-1, § 3(c). During the ninety-day period, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Secretary of State, and Director of National Intelligence were to "immediately conduct a review to determine the information needed from any country" to assess whether individuals seeking entry from those countries posed a national security threat. Those cabinet officers were to deliver a series of reports updating the President as to that review and the implementation of EO-1. See id. § 3(a)-(b), (h).

         The First Executive Order also placed several constraints on the admission of refugees into the country. It reduced the number of refugees to be admitted in fiscal year 2017 from 110, 000 to 50, 000 and barred indefinitely the admission of Syrian refugees. Id. § 5(c)-(d). It further ordered the Secretary of State to suspend for 120 days the United States Refugee Admissions Program ("USRAP"). Id. § 5(a). Upon resumption of USRAP, EO-1 directed the Secretary of State to "prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality." Id. § 5(b).

         Individuals, organizations, and states across the nation challenged the First Executive Order in federal court. A judge in the Western District of Washington granted a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO"), enjoining enforcement nationwide of Sections 3(c), 5(a)-(c), and 5(e). See Washington v. Trump, No. C17-0141JLR, 2017 WL 462040, at *2 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 3, 2017). The Ninth Circuit subsequently denied the Government's request to stay the TRO pending appeal and declined to "rewrite" EO-1 by narrowing the TRO's scope, noting that the "political branches are far better equipped" for that task. Washington v. Trump, 847 F.3d 1151, 1167 (9th Cir. 2017) (per curiam). At the Ninth Circuit's invitation, and in an effort to avoid further litigation concerning the First Executive Order, the President enacted a second order ("EO-2" or "Second Executive Order") on March 6, 2017. Exec. Order No. 13780, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, " 82 Fed. Reg. 13209 (Mar. 6, 2017). The Second Executive Order revoked and replaced the First Executive Order. Id. § 1(i).

         Section 2(c) of EO-2-"Temporary Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Particular Concern During Review Period"-is at the heart of the dispute in this case. This section reinstated the ninety-day suspension of entry for nationals from six countries, eliminating Iraq from the list, but retaining Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen (the "Designated Countries"). EO-2, § 2(c). The President, again invoking 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) and also citing 8 U.S.C. § 1185(a), declared that the "unrestricted entry" of nationals from these countries "would be detrimental to the interests of the United States." Id.[3]

         The Second Executive Order, unlike its predecessor, states that nationals from the Designated Countries warrant "additional scrutiny" because "the conditions in these countries present heightened threats." Id. § 1(d). In justifying the selection of the Designated Countries, EO-2 explains, "Each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones."[4] Id. The Second Executive Order states that "until the assessment of current screening and vetting procedures required by section 2 of this order is completed, the risk of erroneously permitting entry of a national of one of these countries who intends to commit terrorist acts or otherwise harm the national security of the United States is unacceptably high." Id. § 1(f).

         The Second Executive Order also provides brief descriptions of the conditions in each of the Designated Countries. It notes, for instance, that "Sudan has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993 because of its support for international terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas[, and] . . . elements of core al-Qa'ida and ISIS-linked terrorist groups remain active in the country." Id. § 1(e)(iv). The Second Executive Order further states that "[s]ince 2001, hundreds of persons born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States." Id. § 1(h). It provides the following examples: two Iraqi refugees who were convicted of terrorism-related offenses in January 2013, and a naturalized citizen who came to this country as a child refugee from Somalia and who was sentenced for terrorism-related offenses in October 2014. Id. The Second Executive Order does not include any examples of individuals from Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen committing terrorism-related offenses in the United States.

         The Second Executive Order clarifies that the suspension of entry applies to foreign nationals who (1) are outside the United States on its effective date of March 16, 2017, (2) do not have a valid visa on that date, and (3) did not have a valid visa on the effective date of EO-1-January 27, 2017. Id. § 3(a). Section 2(c) does not bar entry of lawful permanent residents, dual citizens traveling under a passport issued by a non-banned country, asylees, or refugees already admitted to the United States. Id. § 3(b). The Second Executive Order also includes a provision that permits consular officers, in their discretion, to issue waivers on a case-by-case basis to individuals barred from entering the United States. Id. § 3(c).

         The Second Executive Order retains some-but not all-of the First Executive Order's refugee provisions. It again suspends USRAP for 120 days and decreases the number of refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 by more than half, id. § 6(a), but it does not include the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. The Second Executive Order also eliminates the provision contained in EO-1 that mandated preferential treatment of religious minorities seeking refugee status. It explains that this provision "applied to refugees from every nation, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and it applied to minority sects within a religion." Id. § 1(b)(iv). It further explains that EO-1 was "not motivated by animus toward any religion, " but rather was designed to protect religious minorities. Id.

         Shortly before the President signed EO-2, an unclassified, internal report from the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") Office of Intelligence and Analysis dated March 2017 was released to the public. See J.A. 425-31. The report found that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists became radicalized many years after entering the United States, and concluded that increased screening and vetting was therefore unlikely to significantly reduce terrorism-related activity in the United States. J.A. 426. According to a news article, a separate DHS report indicated that citizenship in any country is likely an unreliable indicator of whether a particular individual poses a terrorist threat. J.A. 424. In a declaration considered by the district court, ten former national security, foreign policy, and intelligence officials who previously served in the White House, State Department, DHS, and Central Intelligence Agency-four of whom were aware of intelligence related to terrorist threats as of January 20, 2017-advised that "[t]here is no national security purpose for a total ban on entry for aliens from the [Designated Countries]." J.A. 91.

         B.

         The First and Second Executive Orders were issued against a backdrop of public statements by the President and his advisors and representatives at different points in time, both before and after the election and President Trump's assumption of office. We now recount certain of those statements.

         On December 7, 2015, then-candidate Trump published a "Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration" on his campaign website, which proposed "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." J.A. 346.[5] That same day, he highlighted the statement on Twitter, "Just put out a very important policy statement on the extraordinary influx of hatred & danger coming into our country. We must be vigilant!" J.A. 470. And Trump read from the statement at a campaign rally in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, that evening, where he remarked, "I have friends that are Muslims. They are great people-but they know we have a problem." J.A. 472.

         In an interview with CNN on March 9, 2016, Trump professed, "I think Islam hates us, " J.A. 516, and "[W]e can't allow people coming into the country who have this hatred, " J.A. 517. Katrina Pierson, a Trump spokeswoman, told CNN that "[w]e've allowed this propaganda to spread all through the country that [Islam] is a religion of peace." J.A. 518. In a March 22, 2016 interview with Fox Business television, Trump reiterated his call for a ban on Muslim immigration, claiming that this proposed ban had received "tremendous support" and stating, "we're having problems with the Muslims, and we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country." J.A. 522. "You need surveillance, " Trump explained, and "you have to deal with the mosques whether you like it or not." J.A. 522.

         Candidate Trump later recharacterized his call to ban Muslims as a ban on nationals from certain countries or territories. On July 17, 2016, when asked about a tweet that said, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional, " then-candidate Trump responded, "So you call it territories. OK? We're gonna do territories." J.A. 798. He echoed this statement a week later in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press. When asked whether he had "pulled back" on his "Muslim ban, " Trump replied, "We must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place." J.A. 480. Trump added, "I actually don't think it's a rollback. In fact, you could say it's an expansion. I'm looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim. Oh, you can't use the word Muslim. Remember this. And I'm okay with that, because I'm talking territory instead of Muslim." J.A. 481. Trump continued, "Our Constitution is great. . . . Now, we have a religious, you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that's great. And that's the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently." J.A. 481.

         On December 19, 2016, following a terrorist attack in Germany, President-Elect Trump lamented the attack on people who were "prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday" by "ISIS and other Islamic terrorists [who] continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad." J.A. 506. Two days later, when asked whether recent violence in Europe had affected his plans to bar Muslims from immigrating to the United States, President-Elect Trump commented, "You know my plans. All along, I've been proven to be right. 100% correct. What's happening is disgraceful." J.A. 506.

         The President gave an interview to the Christian Broadcasting News on January 27, 2017, the same day he issued the First Executive Order. In that interview, the President explained that EO-1 would give preference to Christian refugees: "They've been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible . . . ." J.A. 461. He found that situation "very, very unfair." J.A. 461. Just before signing EO-1, President Trump stated, "This is the 'Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.' We all know what that means." J.A. 403. The following day, former New York City Mayor and presidential advisor Rudolph Giuliani appeared on Fox News and was asked, "How did the President decide the seven countries?" J.A. 508. Giuliani answered, "I'll tell you the whole history of it. So when [the President] first announced it, he said 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'" J.A. 508. Giuliani said he assembled a group of "expert lawyers" that "focused on, instead of religion, danger-the areas of the world that create danger for us. . . . It's based on places where there [is] substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country." J.A. 508-09.

         In response to the Ninth Circuit's decision not to stay enforcement of the nationwide injunction, the President stated at a news conference on February 16, 2017, that he intended to issue a new executive order tailored to that court's decision-despite his belief that the First Executive Order was lawful. See J.A. 334. In discussing the Ninth Circuit's decision and his "[e]xtreme vetting" proposal, the President stated, "I got elected on defense of our country. I keep my campaign promises, and our citizens will be very happy when they see the result." J.A. 352. A few days later Stephen Miller, Senior Policy Advisor to the President, explained that the new order would reflect "mostly minor technical differences, " emphasizing that it would produce the "same basic policy outcome for the country." J.A. 339. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated, "The principles of the executive order remain the same." J.A. 379. And President Trump, in a speech at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, described EO-2 as "a watered down version of the first order." Appellees' Br. 7 (citing Katie Reilly, Read President Trump's Response to the Travel Ban Ruling: It 'Makes Us Look Weak, ' Time (Mar. 16, 2017), http://time.com/4703622/president-trump-speech-transcript-travel-ban-ruling/ (saved as ECF opinion attachment)).

         At the March 6, 2017 press conference announcing the Second Executive Order, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, "This executive order is a vital measure for strengthening our national security." J.A. 376. That same day, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly submitted a letter to the President detailing how weaknesses in our immigration system compromise our nation's security and recommending a temporary pause on entry of nationals from the Designated Countries. Appellants' Br. 8 n.3 (citing Letter from Jefferson B. Sessions III, Attorney Gen., and John Francis Kelly, Sec'y of Homeland Sec., to President Donald J. Trump (Mar. 6, 2017)). In a CNN interview the next day, Secretary Kelly specified that there are probably "13 or 14 countries" that have "questionable vetting procedures, " not all of which are Muslim countries or in the Middle East. J.A. 411. He noted that there are "51 overwhelmingly Muslim countries" and rejected the characterization of EO-2 as a "Muslim ban." J.A. 412.

          C.

         This action was brought by six individuals, all American citizens or lawful permanent residents who have at least one family member seeking entry into the United States from one of the Designated Countries, and three organizations that serve or represent Muslim clients or members.

         Four of the individual Plaintiffs-John Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, John Doe #3, and Paul Harrison-allege that EO-2 would impact their immediate family members' ability to obtain visas. J.A. 213-14, 245-52, 305, 308-09, 318-19. Collectively, they claim that Section 2(c) of EO-2, the provision that suspends entry for certain foreign nationals for ninety days, will prolong their separation from their loved ones. See, e.g., J.A. 306. John Doe #1 has applied for a spousal immigration visa so that his wife, an Iranian national, can join him in the United States; the application was approved, and she is currently awaiting her visa interview. J.A. 305. Jane Doe #2, a college student in the United States, has a pending I-130 visa application on behalf of her sister, a Syrian refugee living in Saudi Arabia. J.A. 316, 318-19. Since the filing of the operative Complaint on March 10, 2017, two of Plaintiffs' family members have obtained immigrant visas. The Government informed the district court that Paul Harrison's fiancé secured and collected a visa on March 15, 2017, the day before EO-2 was to take effect. Appellants' Br. 19 n.6 (citing J.A. 711-12, 715). Doe #3's wife secured an immigrant visa on May 1, 2017, and Plaintiffs anticipate that she will arrive in the United States within the next eight weeks. J.A. 819. The remaining two individual Plaintiffs-Muhammed Meteab and Ibrahim Ahmed Mohomed-allege that EO-2 would delay or deny the admission of their family members as refugees. J.A. 214, 249-50, 252, 313-14, 321-22.

         Beyond claiming injury to their family relationships, several of the individual Plaintiffs allege that the anti-Muslim message animating EO-2 has caused them feelings of disparagement and exclusion. Doe #1, a scientist who obtained permanent resident status through the National Interest Waiver program for people with extraordinary abilities, references these "anti-Muslim views, " worries about his safety in this country, and contemplates whether he should return to Iran to be with his wife. J.A. 304, 306. Plaintiff Meteab relays that the "anti-Muslim sentiment" motivating EO-2 had led him to feel "isolated and disparaged in [his] community." J.A. 314. He explains that when he is in public with his wife, who wears a hijab, he "sense[s] a lot of hostility from people" and recounts that his nieces, who both wear a hijab, "say that people make mean comments and stare at them for being Muslim." J.A. 314. A classmate "pulled the hijab off" one of his nieces in class. J.A. 314.

         Two of the organizational Plaintiffs, the International Refugee Assistance Project and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, primarily assist refugees with the resettlement process. See J.A. 210-13, 235-43. These organizations claim that they have already diverted significant resources to dealing with EO-2's fallout, and that they will suffer direct financial injury from the anticipated reduction in refugee cases. J.A. 238, 243, 276-77. They further claim that their clients, who are located in the United States and the Middle East, will be injured by the delayed reunification with their loved ones. J.A. 268, 282-83. The final Plaintiff, the Middle East Studies Association, an umbrella organization dedicated to fostering awareness of the Middle East, asserts that EO-2 will, among other injuries, reduce attendance at its annual conference and cause the organization to lose $18, 000 in registration fees. J.A. 243-45, 300-03.

         D.

         Plaintiffs initiated this suit on February 7, 2017, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against enforcement of the First Executive Order. Plaintiffs claimed that EO-1 violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment; the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101-1537 (2012); the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb to 2000bb-4 (2012); the Refugee Act, 8 U.S.C. §§ 1521-24 (2012); and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706 (2012). They named as Defendants the President, DHS, the Department of State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State, and the Director of National Intelligence.

         On March 10, 2017, four days after the President issued EO-2, Plaintiffs filed the operative Complaint, along with a motion for a TRO and/or preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs sought to enjoin implementation of EO-2 in its entirety, prior to its effective date. In quick succession, the Government responded to the motion, Plaintiffs filed a reply, and the parties appeared for a hearing.

         The district court construed the motion as a request for a preliminary injunction, and on March 16, 2017, it granted in part and denied in part that motion. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project, 2017 WL 1018235, at *1. In its Memorandum Opinion, the district court first found that three individual Plaintiffs (Doe #1, Doe #2, and Doe #3) had standing to bring the claim that Section 2(c) violates the INA's provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of nationality in the issuance of immigrant visas, 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A). Id. at *6. The court also determined that at least three individual Plaintiffs (Meteab, Doe #1, and Doe #3) had standing to pursue the claim that EO-2 violates the Establishment Clause. Id. at *7.

         After finding Plaintiffs' claims justiciable, the district court turned to the merits of their claims. The court determined that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed only in part on the merits of their INA claim. Id. at *10. It found that Section 2(c) likely violates § 1152(a)(1)(A), but only as to its effective bar on the issuance of immigrant visas, because § 1152(a)(1)(A) explicitly applies solely to immigrant visas. To the extent that Section 2(c) prohibits the issuance of nonimmigrant visas and bars entry on the basis of nationality, the court found that it was not likely to violate § 1152(a)(1)(A). Id. The court did not discuss this claim in addressing the remaining preliminary injunction factors.

         The district court next found that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim. Id. at *16. It then considered the remaining preliminary injunction requirements, but only as to the Establishment Clause claim: it found that Plaintiffs would suffer irreparable injury if EO-2 were to take effect, that the balance of the equities weighed in Plaintiffs' favor, and that a preliminary injunction was in the public interest. Id. at *17. The district court concluded that a preliminary injunction was therefore proper as to Section 2(c) of EO-2 because Plaintiffs' claims centered primarily on that provision's suspension of entry. The court accordingly issued a nationwide injunction barring enforcement of Section 2(c). Id. at *18.

         Defendants timely noted this appeal, and we possess jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1).

         II.

         Because the district court enjoined Section 2(c) in its entirety based solely on Plaintiffs' Establishment Clause claim, we need not reach the merits of Plaintiffs' statutory claim under the INA.

         In Section 2(c) of EO-2, the President suspended the entry of nationals from the six Designated Countries, pursuant to his power to exclude aliens under Section 212(f) of the INA, codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), and Section 215(a)(1) of the INA, codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1185(a)(1). The Government contends that Section 2(c)'s suspension of entry falls squarely within the "expansive authority" granted to the President by § 1182(f)[6] and § 1185(a)(1).[7] Appellants' Br. 28. Plaintiffs, on the other hand, argue that Section 2(c) violates a separate provision of the INA, Section 202(a)(1)(A), codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A), prohibiting discrimination on the basis of nationality "in the issuance of immigrant visas."[8]

         The district court determined that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claim under § 1152(a)(1)(A) only in limited part. Because Section 2(c) has the practical effect of halting the issuance of immigrant visas on the basis of nationality, the court reasoned, it is inconsistent with § 1152(a)(1)(A). To that extent-and contrary to the Government's position-the court found that Presidential authority under § 1182(f) and § 1185(a)(1) is cabined by the INA's prohibition on nationality-based discrimination in visa issuance. But the district court's ruling was limited in two important respects. First, because § 1152(a)(1)(A) applies only to the issuance of immigrant visas, the district court discerned no conflict between that provision and the application of Section 2(c) to persons seeking non-immigrant visas. And second, the district court found that because § 1152(a)(1)(A) governs the issuance of visas rather than actual entry into the United States, it poses no obstacle to enforcement of Section 2(c)'s nationality-based entry bar. The district court summarized as follows:

Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that the Second Executive Order violates § 1152(a), but only as to the issuance of immigrant visas . . . . They have not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim that § 1152(a) prevents the President from barring entry to the United States pursuant to § 1182(f), or the issuance of non-immigrant visas, on the basis of nationality.

Int'l Refugee Assistance Project, 2017 WL 1018235, at *10.

         This narrow statutory ruling is not the basis for the district court's broad preliminary injunction enjoining Section 2(c) of EO-2 in all of its applications. Rather, Plaintiffs' constitutional claim, the district court determined, was what justified a nationwide preliminary injunction against any enforcement of Section 2(c). If we were to disagree with the district court that § 1152(a)(1)(A) partially restrains the President's authority under § 1182(f) and § 1185(a)(1), then we would be obliged to consider Plaintiffs' alternative Establishment Clause claim. And, importantly, even if we were to agree with the district court's statutory analysis, we still would be faced with the question of whether the scope of the preliminary injunction, which goes beyond the issuance of immigrant visas governed by § 1152(a)(1)(A) to enjoin Section 2(c) in its entirety, can be sustained on the basis of Plaintiffs' Establishment Clause claim.

         In light of this posture, we need not address the merits of the district court's statutory ruling. We recognize, of course, the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, which counsels against the issuance of "unnecessary constitutional rulings." Am. Foreign Serv. Ass'n v. Garfinkel, 490 U.S. 153, 161 (1989) (per curiam). But as we have explained, the district court's constitutional ruling was necessary to its decision, and review of that ruling is necessary to ours. Accordingly, we decline to reach the merits of Plaintiffs' claim under § 1152(a)(1)(A). The breadth of the preliminary injunction issued by the district court may be justified if and only if Plaintiffs can satisfy the requirements for a preliminary injunction based on their Establishment Clause claim. We therefore turn to consider that claim.

         III.

         The Government first asks us to reverse the preliminary injunction on the grounds that Plaintiffs' Establishment Clause claim is non-justiciable. In its view, Plaintiffs have not satisfied the foundational Article III requirements of standing and ripeness, and in any event, the doctrine of consular nonreviewability bars judicial review of their claim. We consider these threshold challenges in turn.

         A.

         The district court found that at least three individual Plaintiffs-Muhammed Meteab, Doe #1, and Doe #3-have standing to assert the claim that EO-2 violates the Establishment Clause. We review this legal determination de novo. Peterson v. Nat'l Telecomms. & Info. Admin., 478 F.3d 626, 631 n.2 (4th Cir. 2007).

         The Constitution's gatekeeping requirement that federal courts may only adjudicate "Cases" or "Controversies, " U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, obligates courts to determine whether litigants have standing to bring suit, Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 1146 (2013). To demonstrate standing and thus invoke federal jurisdiction, a party must establish that "(1) it has suffered an injury in fact, (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the defendants' actions, and (3) it is likely, and not merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision." Long Term Care Partners, LLC v. United States, 516 F.3d 225, 231 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61 (1992)). The parties' core dispute is whether Plaintiffs have suffered a cognizable injury. To establish a cognizable injury, "a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered 'an invasion of a legally protected interest' that is 'concrete and particularized' and 'actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.'" Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1548 (2016) (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560); see also Beck v. McDonald, 848 F.3d 262, 270-71 (4th Cir. 2017).

         In evaluating standing, "the court must be careful not to decide the question on the merits for or against the plaintiff, and must therefore assume that on the merits the plaintiffs would be successful in their claims." Cooksey v. Futrell, 721 F.3d 226, 239 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting City of Waukesha v. EPA, 320 F.3d 228, 235 (D.C. Cir. 2003)); see also Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370, 377 (D.C. Cir. 2007), aff'd by District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) ("The Supreme Court has made clear that when considering whether a plaintiff has Article III standing, a federal court must assume arguendo the merits of his or her legal claim."). This means, for purposes of standing, we must assume that Section 2(c) violates the First Amendment's prohibition against governmental "establishment of religion."

         "Standing in Establishment Clause cases may be shown in various ways, " Ariz. Christian Sch. Tuition Org. v. Winn, 563 U.S. 125, 129 (2011), though as oft-repeated, "the concept of injury for standing purposes is particularly elusive" in this context, Suhre v. Haywood County, 131 F.3d 1083, 1085 (4th Cir. 1997) (quoting Murray v. City of Austin, 947 F.2d 147, 151 (5th Cir. 1991)). Nevertheless, the Supreme Court and this Circuit have developed a set of rules that guide our review.

         To establish standing for an Establishment Clause claim, a plaintiff must have "personal contact with the alleged establishment of religion." Id. at 1086 (emphasis added). A "mere abstract objection to unconstitutional conduct is not sufficient to confer standing." Id. The Supreme Court has reinforced this principle in recent years: "plaintiffs may demonstrate standing based on the direct harm of what is claimed to be an establishment of religion." Winn, 563 U.S. at 129. This "direct harm" can resemble injuries in other contexts. Merchants who suffered economic injury, for instance, had standing to challenge Sunday closing laws as violative of the Establishment Clause. McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 430-31 (1961); Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., 137 S.Ct. 973, 983 (2017) (noting that, in McGowan, appellants who were "fined $5 plus costs had standing"). But because Establishment Clause violations seldom lead to "physical injury or pecuniary loss, " the standing inquiry has been adapted to also include "the kind of injuries Establishment Clause plaintiffs" are more "likely to suffer." Suhre, 131 F.3d at 1086. As such, "noneconomic or intangible injury may suffice to make an Establishment Clause claim justiciable." Id. "Feelings of marginalization and exclusion are cognizable forms of injury, " we recently explained, "particularly in the Establishment Clause context, because one of the core objectives of modern Establishment Clause jurisprudence has been to prevent the State from sending a message to non-adherents of a particular religion 'that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community.'" Moss v. Spartanburg Cty. Sch. Dist. Seven, 683 F.3d 599, 607 (4th Cir. 2012) (quoting McCreary County v. ACLU of Ky., 545 U.S. 844, 860 (2005)).

         Doe #1-who is a lawful permanent resident of the United States, Muslim, and originally from Iran-filed a visa application on behalf of his wife, an Iranian national. Her application has been approved, and she is currently awaiting her consular interview. J.A. 305. If it took effect, EO-2 would bar the entry of Doe #1's wife. Doe #1 explains that because EO-2 bars his wife's entry, it "forces [him] to choose between [his] career and being with [his] wife, " and he is unsure "whether to keep working here" as a scientist or to return to Iran. J.A. 306. Doe #1 adds that EO-2 has "created significant fear, anxiety, and insecurity" for him and his wife. He highlights the "statements that have been made about banning Muslims from entering, and the broader context, " and states, "I worry that I may not be safe in this country." J.A. 306; see also J.A. 314 (Plaintiff Meteab describing how the "anti-Muslim sentiment motivating" EO-2 has led him to feel "isolated and disparaged in [his] community").

         Doe #1 has therefore asserted two distinct injuries stemming from his "personal contact" with the alleged establishment of religion-EO-2. Suhre, 131 F.3d at 1086. First, EO-2 will bar his wife's entry into the United States and prolong their separation. And second, EO-2 sends a state-sanctioned message condemning his religion and causing him to feel excluded and marginalized in his community.

         We begin with Doe #1's allegation that EO-2 will prolong his separation from his wife. This Court has found that standing can be premised on a "threatened rather than actual injury, " Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Gaston Copper Recycling Corp., 204 F.3d 149, 160 (4th Cir. 2000) (en banc), as long as this "threat of injury [is] both real and immediate, " Beck, 848 F.3d at 277 (quoting Lebron v. Rumsfeld, 670 F.3d 540, 560 (4th Cir. 2012)). The purpose of the longstanding "imminence" requirement, which is admittedly "a somewhat elastic concept, " is "to ensure that the alleged injury is not too speculative for Article III purposes-that the injury is 'certainly impending.'" Lujan, 504 U.S. at 564 n.2 (quoting Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 158 (1990)).

         The Government does not contest that, in some circumstances, the prolonged separation of family members can constitute an injury-in-fact. The Government instead argues that Doe #1's claimed injury is speculative and non-imminent, Appellants' Br. 19, such that it is not "legally and judicially cognizable." Id. at 18 (quoting Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 819 (1997)). According to the Government, Doe #1 has failed to show that his threatened injury-prolonged separation from his wife-is imminent. It asserts that Doe #1 has offered no reason to believe that Section 2(c)'s "short pause" on entry "will delay the issuance of [his wife's] visa." Appellants' Br. 19.

         But this ignores that Section 2(c) appears to operate by design to delay the issuance of visas to foreign nationals. Section 2(c)'s "short pause" on entry effectively halts the issuance of visas for ninety days-as the Government acknowledges, it "would be pointless to issue a visa to an alien who the consular officer already knows is barred from entering the country." Appellants' Br. 32; see also Brief for Cato Institute as Amicus Curiae Supporting Appellees 25-28, ECF No. 185 (arguing that Section 2(c) operates as a ban on visa issuance). The Government also cites 8 U.S.C. § 1201(g), which provides in relevant part that "[n]o visa or other documentation shall be issued to an alien if [] it appears to the consular officer . . . that such alien is ineligible to receive a visa or other documentation under section 1182 of this title." See also U.S. Dep't of State, 9 Foreign Affairs Manual 302.14-3(B) (2016). A ninety-day pause on issuing visas would seem to necessarily inject at least some delay into any pending application's timeline. And in fact, the Government suggests that pending visa applications might not be delayed, but denied. See Appellants' Br. 33 (explaining that "when an alien subject to the Order is denied an immigrant visa, . . . he is being denied a visa because he has been validly barred from entering the country"). A denial on such grounds would mean that once the entry suspension period concludes, an alien would have to restart from the beginning the lengthy visa application process. What is more, Section 2(c) is designed to "reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies" to facilitate worldwide review of the current procedures for "screening and vetting of foreign nationals." Logically, dedicating time and resources to a global review process will further slow the adjudication of pending applications.

         Here, Doe #1 has a pending visa application on behalf of his wife, seeking her admission to the United States from one of the Designated Countries. Prior to EO-2's issuance, Doe #1 and his wife were nearing the end of the lengthy immigrant visa process, as they were waiting for her consular interview to be scheduled. J.A. 305. They had already submitted a petition, received approval of that petition, begun National Visa Center ("NVC") Processing, submitted the visa application form, collected and submitted the requisite financial and supporting documentation to NVC, and paid the appropriate fees. J.A. 305; see U.S. Dep't of State, The Immigrant Visa Process, https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process.html (last visited May 14, 2017) (saved as ECF opinion attachment) (diagramming steps of the immigrant-visa application process). If Section 2(c) were in force-restricting the issuance of visas to nationals in the Designated Countries for ninety days and initiating the worldwide review of existing visa standards-we find a "real and immediate" threat that it would prolong Doe #1's separation from his wife, either by delaying the issuance of her visa or denying her visa and forcing her to restart the application process. Beck, 848 F.3d at 277 (quoting Lebron, 670 F.3d at 560).

         This prolonged family separation is not, as the Government asserts, a remote or speculative possibility. Unlike threatened injuries that rest on hypothetical actions a plaintiff may take "some day, " Lujan, 504 U.S. at 564, or on a "highly attenuated chain of possibilities, " Clapper, 133 S.Ct. at 1148, the threatened injury here is imminent, sufficiently "real" and concrete, Spokeo, 136 S.Ct. at 1549, and would harm Doe #1 in a personal and "particularized" way, id. at 1548. The progression of Doe #3's wife's visa application illustrates this. Doe #3's wife received a visa on May 1, 2017, while Section 2(c) was enjoined. If Section 2(c) had been in effect, she would have been ineligible to receive a visa until after the expiration of the ninety-day period. See 8 U.S.C. § 1201(g). Put simply, Section 2(c) would have delayed the issuance of Doe #3's wife's visa. This cuts directly against the Government's assertion that it is uncertain whether or how Section 2(c) would affect visa applicants. Clearly Section 2(c) will delay and disrupt pending visa applications.

         Even more, flowing from EO-2 is the alleged state-sanctioned message that foreign-born Muslims, a group to which Doe #1 belongs, are "outsiders, not full members of the political community." Moss, 683 F.3d at 607 (quoting McCreary, 545 U.S. at 860).[9] Doe #1 explains how the Second Executive Order has caused him to fear for his personal safety in this country and wonder whether he should give up his career in the United States and return to Iran to be with his wife. J.A. 306. This harm is consistent with the "[f]eelings of marginalization and exclusion" injury we recognized in Moss. 683 F.3d at 607.

         In light of these two injuries, we find that Doe #1 has had "personal contact with the alleged establishment of religion." Suhre, 131 F.3d at 1086. Regardless of whether EO-2 actually violates the Establishment Clause's command not to disfavor a particular religion, a merits inquiry explored in Section IV.A, his injuries are on par with, if not greater than, injuries we previously deemed sufficient in this context. See Moss, 683 F.3d at 607 (finding Jewish daughter and father who received letter describing public school policy of awarding academic credit for private, Christian religious instruction suffered injury in part because they were made to feel like "'outsiders' in their own community").[10]

         The Government attempts to undercut these injuries in several ways. It first frames Plaintiffs' injuries as "stress." Appellants' Br. 23. That minimizes the psychological harm that flows from confronting official action preferring or disfavoring a particular religion and, in any event, does not account for the impact on families. The Government next argues that because the Second Executive Order "directly applies only to aliens abroad from the specified countries, " it is "not directly targeted at plaintiffs, " who are based in the United States, "in the way that local- or state-government messages are." Appellants' Reply Br. 3. An executive order is of course different than a local Sunday closing law or a Ten Commandments display in a state courthouse, but that does not mean its impact is any less direct. Indeed, because it emanates from the highest elected office in the nation, its impact is arguably felt even more directly by the individuals it affects. From Doe #1's perspective, the Second Executive Order does not apply to arbitrary or anonymous "aliens abroad." It applies to his wife.

         More than abstractly disagreeing with the wisdom or legality of the President's policy decision, Plaintiffs show how EO-2 impacted (and continues to impact) them personally. Doe #1 is not simply "roam[ing] the country in search of governmental wrongdoing." Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church & State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 487 (1982). Rather, he is feeling the direct, painful effects of the Second Executive Order-both its alleged message of religious condemnation and the prolonged separation it causes between him and his wife-in his everyday life.[11] This case thus bears little resemblance to Valley Forge.

         We likewise reject the Government's suggestion that Plaintiffs are seeking to vindicate the legal rights of third parties. The prudential standing doctrine includes a "general prohibition on a litigant's raising another person's legal rights." CGM, LLC v. BellSouth Telecomms., Inc., 664 F.3d 46, 52 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting Allen v. Wright, 468 U.S. 737, 751 (1984)). This "general prohibition" is not implicated here, however, as Doe #1 has shown that he himself suffered injuries as a result of the challenged Order.[12]

         For all of these reasons, we find that Doe #1 has met his burden to establish an Article III injury. We further find that Doe #1 has made the requisite showing that his claimed injuries are causally related to the challenged conduct-the Second Executive Order-as opposed to "the independent action of some third party not before the court." Cooksey, 721 F.3d at 238 (quoting Frank Krasner Enters., Ltd. v. Montgomery County, 401 F.3d 230, 234 (4th Cir. 2005)). Enjoining enforcement of Section 2(c) therefore will likely redress those injuries. Doe #1 has thus met the constitutional standing requirements with respect to the Establishment Clause claim. And because we find that at least one Plaintiff possesses standing, we need not decide whether the other individual Plaintiffs or the organizational Plaintiffs have standing with respect to this claim. See Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F.3d 352, 370 (4th Cir. 2014).

         Lastly, the Government asserts that Plaintiffs' Establishment Clause claim is unripe. It argues that under EO-2, Plaintiffs' relatives can apply for a waiver, and unless and until those waiver requests are denied, Plaintiffs' claims are dependent on future uncertainties. When evaluating ripeness, we consider "(1) the fitness of the issues for judicial decision and (2) the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration." Id. (quoting Nat'l Park Hosp. Ass'n v. Dep't of Interior, 538 U.S. 803, 808 (2003)). An action is fit for resolution "when the issues are purely legal and when the action in controversy is final and not dependent on future uncertainties." Miller v. Brown, 462 F.3d 312, 319 (4th Cir. 2006). The "hardship prong is measured by the immediacy of the threat and the burden imposed on the [plaintiff]." Lansdowne on the Potomac Homeowners Ass'n, Inc. v. OpenBand at Lansdowne, LLC, 713 F.3d 187, 199 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Charter Fed. Sav. Bank v. Office of Thrift Supervision, 976 F.2d 203, 208-09 (4th Cir. 1992)).

         Our ripeness doctrine is clearly not implicated here. Plaintiffs have brought a facial challenge, alleging that EO-2 violates the Establishment Clause regardless of whether their relatives secure waivers. This legal question is squarely presented for our review and is not dependent on the factual uncertainties of the waiver process. What is more, Plaintiffs will suffer undue hardship, as explained above, were we to require their family members to attempt to secure a waiver before permitting Plaintiffs to challenge Section 2(c). We accordingly find the claim ripe for judicial decision.

         B.

         In one final justiciability challenge, the Government asserts that consular nonreviewability bars any review of Plaintiffs' claim. This Court has scarcely discussed the doctrine, so the Government turns to the District of Columbia Circuit, which has stated that "a consular official's decision to issue or withhold a visa is not subject to judicial review, at least unless Congress says otherwise." Saavedra Bruno v. Albright, 197 F.3d 1153, 1159 (D.C. Cir. 1999). But in the same opinion, the court explained that judicial review was proper in cases involving "claims by United States citizens rather than by aliens . . . and statutory claims that are accompanied by constitutional ones." Id. at 1163 (quoting Abourezk v. Reagan, 785 F.2d 1043, 1051 n.6 (D.C. Cir. 1986)). This is precisely such a case. More fundamentally, the doctrine of consular nonreviewability does not bar judicial review of constitutional claims. See, e.g., Din, 135 S.Ct. at 2132 (reviewing visa denial where plaintiff asserted due process claim). The Government's reliance on the doctrine is therefore misplaced.

         Behind the casual assertion of consular nonreviewability lies a dangerous idea- that this Court lacks the authority to review high-level government policy of the sort here. Although the Supreme Court has certainly encouraged deference in our review of immigration matters that implicate national security interests, see infra Section IV.A, it has not countenanced judicial abdication, especially where constitutional rights, values, and principles are at stake. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has affirmed time and again that "it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is." Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177 (1803). This "duty will sometimes involve the 'resolution of litigation challenging the constitutional authority of one of the three branches, ' but courts cannot avoid their responsibility." Zivotofsky ex rel. Zivotofsky v. Clinton, 566 U.S. 189, 196 (2012) (quoting INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 943 (1983)). In light of this duty, and having determined that the present case is justiciable, we now proceed to consider whether the district court properly enjoined Section 2(c) of the Second Executive Order.

         IV.

         A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remed[y] involving the exercise of very far-reaching power" and is "to be granted only sparingly and in limited circumstances." MicroStrategy Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., 245 F.3d 335, 339 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting Direx Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough Med. Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 816 (4th Cir. 1991)). For a district court to grant a preliminary injunction, "a plaintiff 'must establish [1] that he is likely to succeed on the merits, [2] that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, [3] that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and [4] that an injunction is in the public interest.'" WV Ass'n of Club Owners & Fraternal Servs., Inc. v. Musgrave, 553 F.3d 292, 298 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Winter v. Nat. Res. Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)). The district court found that Plaintiffs satisfied all four requirements as to their Establishment Clause claim, and it enjoined Section 2(c) of EO-2. We evaluate the court's findings for abuse of discretion, Aggarao v. MOL Ship Mgmt. Co., Ltd., 675 F.3d 355, 366 (4th Cir. 2012), reviewing its factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo, Dewhurst v. Century Aluminum Co., 649 F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2011).

         A.

         The district court determined that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that EO-2 violates the Establishment Clause. Int'l Refugee Assistance Project, 2017 WL 1018235, at *16. It found that because EO-2 is "facially neutral in terms of religion, " id. at *13, the test outlined in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), governs the constitutional inquiry. And applying the Lemon test, the court found that EO-2 likely violates the Establishment Clause. The Government argues that the court erroneously applied the Lemon test instead of the more deferential test set forth in Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972). And under Mandel, the Government contends, Plaintiffs' claim fails.

         1.

         We begin by addressing the Government's argument that the district court applied the wrong test in evaluating Plaintiffs' constitutional claim. The Government contends that Mandel sets forth the appropriate test because it recognizes the limited scope of judicial review of executive action in the immigration context. Appellants' Br. 42. We agree that Mandel is the starting point for our analysis, but for the reasons that follow, we find that its test contemplates the application of settled Establishment Clause doctrine in this case.

         In Mandel, American university professors had invited Mandel, a Belgian citizen and revolutionary Marxist and professional journalist, to speak at a number of conferences in the United States. 408 U.S. at 756. But Mandel's application for a nonimmigrant visa was denied under a then-existing INA provision that barred the entry of aliens "who advocate the economic, international, and governmental doctrines of world communism." 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(28)(D) (1964). The Attorney General had discretion to waive § 1182(a)(28)(D)'s bar and grant Mandel an individual exception, but declined to do so on the grounds that Mandel had violated the terms of his visas during prior visits to the United States. 408 U.S. at 759. The American professors sued, alleging, among other things, that the denial of Mandel's visa violated their First Amendment rights to "hear his views and engage him in a free and open academic exchange." Id. at 760.

         The Supreme Court, citing "Congress' 'plenary power to make rules for the admission of aliens and to exclude those who possess those characteristics which Congress has forbidden, '" id. at 766 (quoting Boutilier v. INS, 387 U.S. 118, 123 (1967)), found that the longstanding principle of deference to the political branches in the immigration context limited its review of plaintiffs' challenge, id. at 767. The Court held that "when the Executive exercises this power [to exclude an alien] on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will neither look behind the exercise of that discretion, nor test it by balancing its justification against the [plaintiffs'] First Amendment interests." Id. at 770. The Court concluded that the Attorney General's stated reason for denying Mandel's visa-that he had violated the terms of prior visas- satisfied this test.[13] It therefore did not review plaintiffs' First Amendment claim.

         Courts have continuously applied Mandel's "facially legitimate and bona fide" test to challenges to individual visa denials. See Din, 135 S.Ct. at 2139-40 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment) (applying Mandel's test to challenge to visa denial); Cardenas v. United States, 826 F.3d 1164, 1172-73 (9th Cir. 2016) (same); Am. Acad. of Religion v. Napolitano, 573 F.3d 115, 125 (2d Cir. 2009) (same). Subsequently, in Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787 (1977), the Supreme Court applied Mandel's test to a facial challenge to an immigration law, finding "no reason to review the broad congressional policy choice at issue here under a more exacting standard than was applied in Kleindienst v. Mandel, a First Amendment case." Id. at 795. And in a case where plaintiffs brought a constitutional challenge to an immigration law, this Court has found that "we must apply the same standard as the Fiallo court and uphold the statute if a 'facially legitimate and bona fide reason' supports [it]." Johnson, 647 F.3d at 127.[14]Mandel is therefore the starting point for our review.

         But in another more recent line of cases, the Supreme Court has made clear that despite the political branches' plenary power over immigration, that power is still "subject to important constitutional limitations, " Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678, 695 (2001), and that it is the judiciary's responsibility to uphold those limitations. Chadha, 462 U.S. at 941 (stating that Congress and the Executive must "cho[ose] a constitutionally permissible means of implementing" their authority over immigration). These cases instruct that the political branches' power over immigration is not tantamount to a constitutional blank check, and that vigorous judicial review is required when an immigration action's constitutionality is in question.

         We are bound to give effect to both lines of cases, meaning that we must enforce constitutional limitations on immigration actions while also applying Mandel's deferential test to those actions as the Supreme Court has instructed. For the reasons that follow, however, we find that these tasks are not mutually exclusive, and that Mandel's test still contemplates meaningful judicial review of constitutional challenges in certain, narrow circumstances, as we have here.

         To begin, Mandel's test undoubtedly imposes a heavy burden on plaintiffs, consistent with the significant deference we afford the political branches in the immigration context. See Mathews v. Diaz, 426 U.S. 67, 82 (1976) (describing the "narrow standard of [judicial] review of decisions made by the Congress or the President in the area of immigration and naturalization"). The government need only show that the challenged action is "facially legitimate and bona fide" to defeat a constitutional challenge. Mandel, 408 U.S. at 770. These are separate and quite distinct requirements. To be "facially legitimate, " there must be a valid reason for the challenged action stated on the face of the action. Din, 135 S.Ct. at 2140-41 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment) (finding visa denial "facially legitimate" where government cited a statutory provision in support of the denial).

         And as the name suggests, the "bona fide" requirement concerns whether the government issued the challenged action in good faith. In Kerry v. Din, Justice Kennedy, joined by Justice Alito, elaborated on this requirement. Id. at 2141.[15] Here, the burden is on the plaintiff. Justice Kennedy explained that where a plaintiff makes "an affirmative showing of bad faith" that is "plausibly alleged with sufficient particularity, " courts may "look behind" the challenged action to assess its "facially legitimate" justification. Id. (suggesting that if plaintiff had sufficiently alleged that government denied visa in bad faith, court should inquire whether the government's stated statutory basis for denying the visa was the actual reason for the denial). In the typical case, it will be difficult for a plaintiff to make an affirmative showing of bad faith with plausibility and particularity. See, e.g., Cardenas, 826 F.3d at 1173 (applying Din and finding that plaintiff who alleged that consular officer refused to consider relevant evidence and acted based on racial bias had failed to make an affirmative showing of bad faith). And absent this affirmative showing, courts must defer to the government's "facially legitimate" reason for the action.

         Mandel therefore clearly sets a high bar for plaintiffs seeking judicial review of a constitutional challenge to an immigration action. But although Mandel's "facially legitimate and bona fide" test affords significant deference to the political branches' decisions in this area, it does not completely insulate those decisions from any meaningful review. Where plaintiffs have seriously called into question whether the stated reason for the challenged action was provided in good faith, we understand Mandel, as construed by Justice Kennedy in his controlling concurrence in Din, to require that we step away from our deferential posture and look behind the stated reason for the challenged action. In other words, Mandel's requirement that an immigration action be "bona fide" may in some instances compel more searching judicial review. Plaintiffs ask this Court to engage in such searching review here under the traditional Establishment Clause test, and we therefore turn to consider whether such a test is warranted.

         We start with Mandel's requirement that the challenged government action be "facially legitimate." EO-2's stated purpose is "to protect the Nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States." EO-2, Preamble. We find that this stated national security interest is, on its face, a valid reason for Section 2(c)'s suspension of entry. EO-2 therefore satisfies Mandel's first requirement. Absent allegations of bad faith, our analysis would end here in favor of the Government. But in this case, Plaintiffs have alleged that EO-2's stated purpose was given in bad faith. We therefore must consider whether they have made the requisite showing of bad faith.

         As noted, Plaintiffs must "plausibly allege[] with sufficient particularity" that the reason for the government action was provided in bad faith. Din, 135 S.Ct. at 2141 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment). Plaintiffs here claim that EO-2 invokes national security in bad faith, as a pretext for what really is an anti-Muslim religious purpose. Plaintiffs point to ample evidence that national security is not the true reason for EO-2, including, among other things, then-candidate Trump's numerous campaign statements expressing animus towards the Islamic faith; his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States; his subsequent explanation that he would effectuate this ban by targeting "territories" instead of Muslims directly; the issuance of EO-1, which targeted certain majority-Muslim nations and included a preference for religious minorities; an advisor's statement that the President had asked him to find a way to ban Muslims in a legal way; and the issuance of EO-2, which resembles EO-1 and which President Trump and his advisors described as having the same policy goals as EO-1. See, e.g., J.A. 339, 346, 370, 379, 403, 470, 472, 480, 481, 506, 508, 516-18, 522, 798. Plaintiffs also point to the comparably weak evidence that EO-2 is meant to address national security interests, including the exclusion of national security agencies from the decisionmaking process, the post hoc nature of the national security rationale, and evidence from DHS that EO-2 would not operate to diminish the threat of potential terrorist activity.

         Based on this evidence, we find that Plaintiffs have more than plausibly alleged that EO-2's stated national security interest was provided in bad faith, as a pretext for its religious purpose. And having concluded that the "facially legitimate" reason proffered by the government is not "bona fide, " we no longer defer to that reason and instead may "look behind" EO-2. Din, 135 S.Ct. at 2141 (Kennedy, J., concurring in the judgment).

         Since Justice Kennedy's concurrence in Din, no court has confronted a scenario where, as here, plaintiffs have plausibly alleged with particularity that an immigration action was taken in bad faith. We therefore have minimal guidance on what "look[ing] behind" a challenged immigration action entails. See id. In addressing this issue of first impression, the Government does not propose a framework for this inquiry. Rather, the Government summarily asserts that because EO-2 states that it is motivated by national security interests, it therefore satisfies Mandel's test. But this only responds to Mandel's "facially legitimate" requirement-it reads out Mandel's "bona fide" test altogether. Plaintiffs, for their part, suggest that we review their claim using our normal constitutional tools. And in the Establishment Clause context, our normal constitutional tool for reviewing facially neutral government actions is the test in Lemon v. Kurtzman.

         We find for several reasons that because Plaintiffs have made an affirmative showing of bad faith, applying the Lemon test to analyze EO-2's constitutionality is appropriate. First, as detailed above, the Supreme Court has unequivocally stated that the political branches' immigration actions are still "subject to important constitutional limitations." Zadvydas, 533 U.S. at 695; see also Chadha, 462 U.S. at 941-42. The constitutional limitation in this case is the Establishment Clause, and this Court's duty to uphold the Constitution even in the context of a presidential immigration action counsels in favor of applying our standard constitutional tool. Second, that Plaintiffs have satisfied Mandel's heavy burden to plausibly show that the reason for the challenged action was proffered in bad faith further supports the application of our established constitutional doctrine. The deferential framework set forth in Mandel is based in part on general respect for the political branches' power in the immigration realm. Once plaintiffs credibly call into question the political branches' motives for exercising that power, our reason for deferring is severely undermined. In the rare case where plaintiffs plausibly allege bad faith with particularity, more meaningful review-in the form of constitutional scrutiny-is proper. And third, in the context of this case, there is an obvious symmetry between Mandel's "bona fide" prong and the constitutional inquiry established in Lemon. Both tests ask courts to evaluate the government's purpose for acting.

         Because Plaintiffs have made a substantial and affirmative showing that the government's national security purpose was proffered in bad faith, we find it appropriate to apply our longstanding Establishment Clause doctrine. Applying this doctrine harmonizes our duty to engage in the substantial deference required by Mandel and its progeny with our responsibility to ensure that the political branches choose constitutionally permissible means of exercising their immigration power. We therefore proceed to "look behind" EO-2 using the framework developed in Lemon to determine if EO-2 was motivated by a primarily religious purpose, rather than its stated reason of promoting national security.

         2.

         To prevail under the Lemon test, the Government must show that the challenged action (1) "ha[s] a secular legislative purpose, " (2) that "its principal or primary effect [is] one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, " and (3) that it does "not foster 'an excessive government entanglement with religion.'" Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612-13 (quoting Walz v. Tax Comm'n of the City of New York, 397 U.S. 664, 674 (1970)) (citation omitted). The Government must satisfy all three prongs of Lemon to defeat an Establishment Clause challenge. Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 583 (1987). The dispute here centers on Lemon's first prong.

         In the Establishment Clause context, "purpose matters." McCreary, 545 U.S. at 866 n.14. Under the Lemon test's first prong, the Government must show that the challenged action "ha[s] a secular legislative purpose." Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612. Accordingly, the Government must show that the challenged action has a secular purpose that is "genuine, not a sham, and not merely secondary to a religious objective." McCreary, 545 U.S. at 864; see also Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 308 (2000) ("When a governmental entity professes a secular purpose for an arguably religious policy, the government's characterization is, of course, entitled to some deference. But it is nonetheless the duty of the courts to 'distinguis[h] a sham secular purpose from a sincere one.'" (quoting Wallace, 472 U.S. at 75 (O'Connor, J., concurring in the judgment)). The government cannot meet this requirement by identifying any secular purpose for the challenged action. McCreary, 545 U.S. at 865 n.13 (noting that if any secular purpose sufficed, "it would leave the purpose test with no real bite, given the ease of finding some secular purpose for almost any government action"). Rather, the government must show that the challenged action's primary purpose is secular. Edwards, 482 U.S. at 594 (finding an Establishment Clause violation where the challenged act's "primary purpose . . . is to endorse a particular religious doctrine, " notwithstanding that the act's stated purpose was secular).

         When a court considers whether a challenged government action's primary purpose is secular, it attempts to discern the "official objective . . . from readily discoverable fact, without any judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter's heart of hearts." McCreary, 545 U.S. at 862. The court acts as a reasonable, "objective observer, " taking into account "the traditional external signs that show up in the 'text, legislative history, and implementation of the statute, ' or comparable official act." Id. (quoting Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 308). It also considers the action's "historical context" and "the specific sequence of events leading to [its] passage." Edwards, 482 U.S. at 595. And as a reasonable observer, a court has a "reasonable memor[y], " and it cannot "'turn a blind eye to the context in which [the action] arose.'" McCreary, 545 U.S. at 866 (quoting Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 315).

         The evidence in the record, viewed from the standpoint of the reasonable observer, creates a compelling case that EO-2's primary purpose is religious. Then-candidate Trump's campaign statements reveal that on numerous occasions, he expressed anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as his intent, if elected, to ban Muslims from the United States. For instance, on December 7, 2015, Trump posted on his campaign website a "Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration, " in which he "call[ed] for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what is going on" and remarked, "[I]t is obvious to anybody that the hatred is beyond comprehension. . . . [O]ur country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life." J.A. 346. In a March 9, 2016 interview, Trump stated that "Islam hates us, " J.A. 516, and that "[w]e can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred, " J.A. 517. Less than two weeks later, in a March 22 interview, Trump again called for excluding Muslims, because "we're having problems with the Muslims, and we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country." J.A. 522. And on December 21, 2016, when asked whether recent attacks in Europe affected his proposed Muslim ban, PresidentElect Trump replied, "You know my plans. All along, I've proven to be right. 100% correct." J.A. 506.

         As a candidate, Trump also suggested that he would attempt to circumvent scrutiny of the Muslim ban by formulating it in terms of nationality, rather than religion. On July 17, 2016, in response to a tweet stating, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional, " Trump said, "So you call it territories. OK? We're gonna do territories." J.A. 798. One week later, Trump asserted that entry should be "immediately suspended[ed] . . . from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism." J.A. 480. When asked whether this meant he was "roll[ing ]back" his call for a Muslim ban, he said his plan was an "expansion" and explained that "[p]eople were so upset when I used the word Muslim, " so he was instead "talking territory instead of Muslim." J.A. 481.

         Significantly, the First Executive Order appeared to take this exact form, barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. And just before President Trump signed EO-1 on January 27, 2017, he stated, "This is the 'Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.' We all know what that means." J.A. 403. The next day, presidential advisor and former New York City Mayor Giuliani appeared on Fox News and asserted that "when [Trump] first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.'" J.A. 508.

         Shortly after courts enjoined the First Executive Order, President Trump issued EO-2, which the President and members of his team characterized as being substantially similar to EO-1. EO-2 has the same name and basic structure as EO-1, but it does not include a preference for religious-minority refugees and excludes Iraq from its list of Designated Countries. EO-2, § 1(e). It also exempts certain categories of nationals from the Designated Countries and institutes a waiver process for qualifying individuals. EO-2, § 3(b), (c). Senior Policy Advisor Miller described the changes to EO-2 as "mostly minor technical differences, " and said that there would be "the same basic policy outcomes for the country." J.A. 339. White House Press Secretary Spicer stated that "[t]he principles of the [second] executive order remain the same." J.A. 379. And President Trump, in a speech at a rally, described EO-2 as "a watered down version of the first order." Appellees' Br. 7 (citing Reilly, supra). These statements suggest that like EO-1, EO-2's purpose is to effectuate the promised Muslim ban, and that its changes from EO-1 reflect an effort to help it survive judicial scrutiny, rather than to avoid targeting Muslims for exclusion from the United States.

         These statements, taken together, provide direct, specific evidence of what motivated both EO-1 and EO-2: President Trump's desire to exclude Muslims from the United States. The statements also reveal President Trump's intended means of effectuating the ban: by targeting majority-Muslim nations instead of Muslims explicitly. And after courts enjoined EO-1, the statements show how President Trump attempted to preserve its core mission: by issuing EO-2-a "watered down" version with "the same basic policy outcomes." J.A. 339. These statements are the exact type of "readily discoverable fact[s]" that we use in determining a government action's primary purpose. McCreary, 545 U.S. at 862. They are explicit statements of purpose and are attributable either to President Trump directly or to his advisors. We need not probe anyone's heart of hearts to discover the purpose of EO-2, for President Trump and his aides have explained it on numerous occasions and in no uncertain terms. See Glassroth v. Moore, 335 F.3d 1282, 1296 (11th Cir. 2003) ("Besides, no psychoanalysis or dissection is required here, where there is abundant evidence, including his own words, of the [government actor's] purpose."). EO-2 cannot be read in isolation from the statements of planning and purpose that accompanied it, particularly in light of the sheer number of statements, their nearly singular source, and the close connection they draw between the proposed Muslim ban and EO-2 itself.[16] See McCreary, 545 U.S. at 866 (rejecting notion that court could consider only "the latest news about the last in a series of governmental actions, however close they may all be in time and subject"). The reasonable observer could easily connect these statements to EO-2 and understand that its primary purpose appears to be religious, rather than secular.

         The Government argues, without meaningfully addressing Plaintiffs' proffered evidence, that EO-2's primary purpose is in fact secular because it is facially neutral and operates to address the risks of potential terrorism without targeting any particular religious group. Appellants' Br. 42-44. That EO-2's stated objective is religiously neutral is not dispositive; the entire premise of our review under Lemon is that even facially neutral government actions can violate the Establishment Clause. See Lemon, 403 U.S. at 612 (recognizing that "a law 'respecting' . . . the establishment of religion[] is not always easily identifiable as one, " and creating a three-part test for discerning when a facially neutral law violates the Establishment Clause); see also Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 315 ("Our examination [under Lemon's purpose prong] . . . need not stop at an analysis of the text of the policy."). We therefore reject the Government's suggestion that EO-2's facial neutrality might somehow fully answer the question of EO-2's primary purpose.[17]

         The Government's argument that EO-2's primary purpose is related to national security, Appellants' Br. 43-44, is belied by evidence in the record that President Trump issued the First Executive Order without consulting the relevant national security agencies, J.A. 397, and that those agencies only offered a national security rationale after EO-1 was enjoined. Furthermore, internal reports from DHS contradict this national security rationale, with one report stating that "most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns." J.A. 426. According to former National Security Officials, Section 2(c) serves "no legitimate national security purpose, " given that "not a single American has died in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil at the hands of citizens of these six nations in the last forty years" and that there is no evidence of any new security risks emanating from these countries. Corrected Brief for Former National Security Officials as Amici Curiae Supporting Appellees 5-8, ECF No. 126-1.[18] Like the district court, we think this strong evidence that any national security justification for EO-2 was secondary to its primary religious purpose and was offered as more of a "litigating position" than as the actual purpose of EO-2. See McCreary, 545 U.S. at 871 (describing the government's "new statements of purpose . . . as a litigating position" where they were offered to explain the third iteration of a previously enjoined religious display). And EO-2's text does little to bolster any national security rationale: the only examples it provides of immigrants born abroad and convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States include two Iraqis-Iraq is not a designated country in EO-2-and a Somalian refugee who entered the United States as a child and was radicalized here as an adult. EO-2, § 1(h). The Government's asserted national security purpose is therefore no more convincing as applied to EO-2 than it was to EO-1.

         Relatedly, the Government argues that EO-2's operation "confirms its stated purpose." Appellants' Br. 43. "[I]t applies to six countries based on risk, not religion; and in those six countries, the suspension applies irrespective of any alien's religion." Id. In support of its argument that EO-2 does not single out Muslims, the Government notes that these six countries are either places where ISIS has a heavy presence (Syria), state sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Sudan, and Syria), or safe havens for terrorists (Libya, Somalia, and Yemen). Appellants' Br. 5-6. The Government also points out that the six Designated Countries represent only a small proportion of the world's majority-Muslim nations, and EO-2 applies to everyone in those countries, even non-Muslims. Id. at 44. This shows, the Government argues, that EO-2's primary purpose is secular. The trouble with this argument is that EO-2's practical operation is not severable from the myriad statements explaining its operation as intended to bar Muslims from the United States. And that EO-2 is underinclusive by targeting only a small percentage of the world's majority-Muslim nations and overinclusive for targeting all citizens, even non-Muslims, in the Designated Countries, is not responsive to the purpose inquiry. This evidence might be relevant to our analysis under Lemon's second prong, which asks whether a government act has the primary effect of endorsing or disapproving of religion, see Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 692 (1984) (O'Connor, J., concurring), but it does not answer whether the government acted with a primarily religious purpose to begin with. If we limited our purpose inquiry to review of the operation of a facially neutral order, we would be caught in an analytical loop, where the order would always survive scrutiny. It is for this precise reason that when we attempt to discern purpose, we look to more than just the challenged action itself. And here, when we consider the full context of EO-2, it is evident that it is likely motivated primarily by religion. We do not discount that there may be a national security concern motivating EO-2; we merely find it likely that any such purpose is secondary to EO-2's religious purpose.

         The Government separately contends that our purpose inquiry should not extend to "extrinsic evidence" that is beyond EO-2's relevant context. Appellants' Br. 45. The Government first argues that we should not look beyond EO-2's "text and operation." Id. at 45-46. But this is clearly incorrect, as the Supreme Court has explicitly stated that we review more than just the face of a challenged action. See, e.g., Bd. of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Vill. Sch. Dist. v. Grumet, 512 U.S. 687, 699 (1994) ("[O]ur [Establishment Clause] analysis does not end with the text of the statute at issue.") (citing Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, 508 U.S. at 534).[19]

         The Government next argues that even if we do look beyond EO-2 itself, under McCreary, we are limited to considering only "the operative terms of governmental action and official pronouncements, " Appellants' Br. 46, which we understand to mean only EO-2 itself and a letter signed by the Attorney General and the Secretary of State that largely echoes EO-2's text, id. at 8 n.3 (citing Letter, supra). We find no support for this view in McCreary. The McCreary Court considered "the traditional external signs that show up in the 'text, legislative history, and implementation of the [challenged action], '" 545 U.S. at 862 (quoting Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 308), but it did not limit other courts' review to those particular terms. Id. Nor did it make such an artificial distinction between "official" and "unofficial" context. Rather, it relied on principles of "common sense" and the "reasonable observer[']s . . . reasonable memor[y]" to cull the relevant context surrounding the challenged action. Id. at 866. The Government would have us abandon this approach in favor of an unworkable standard that is contrary to the well-established framework for considering the context of a challenged government action.

         And finally, the Government argues that even if we could consider unofficial acts and statements, we should not rely on campaign statements. Appellants' Br. 49. Those statements predate President Trump's constitutionally significant "transition from private life to the Nation's highest public office, " and as such, they are less probative than official statements, the Government contends. Id. at 51.[20] We recognize that in many cases, campaign statements may not reveal all that much about a government actor's purpose. But we decline to impose a bright-line rule against considering campaign statements, because as with any evidence, we must make an individualized determination as to a statement's relevancy and probative value in light of all the circumstances. The campaign statements here are probative of purpose because they are closely related in time, attributable to the primary decisionmaker, and specific and easily connected to the challenged action. See Glassroth, 335 F.3d at 1297 (reviewing an elected judge's campaign materials that proclaimed him the "Ten Commandment's Judge" as part of its inquiry into the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments display he installed); see also Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457, 463 (1982) (considering facially neutral campaign statements related to bussing in an equal protection challenge); California v. United States, 438 U.S. 645, 663-64 (1978) (referring to candidates' political platforms when considering the Reclamation Act of 1902); Village of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 266-68 (1977) (explaining that in the equal protection context, "[w]hen there is [] proof that a discriminatory purpose has been a motivating factor in the decision, " a court may consider "contemporary statements by members of the decisionmaking body").

         Just as the reasonable observer's "world is not made brand new every morning, " McCreary, 545 U.S. at 866, nor are we able to awake without the vivid memory of these statements. We cannot shut our eyes to such evidence when it stares us in the face, for "there's none so blind as they that won't see." Jonathan Swift, Polite Conversation 174 (Chiswick Press ed., 1892). If and when future courts are confronted with campaign or other statements proffered as evidence of governmental purpose, those courts must similarly determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether such statements are probative evidence of governmental purpose. Our holding today neither limits nor expands their review.[21]

         The Government argues that reviewing campaign statements here would encourage scrutiny of all religious statements ever made by elected officials, even remarks from before they assumed office. Appellants' Br. 49-50. But our review creates no such sweeping implications, because as the Supreme Court has counseled, our purpose analysis "demands a sensitive inquiry into such circumstantial and direct evidence of intent as may be available." Village of Arlington Heights, 429 U.S. at 266; see also Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 597 (1992) ("Our Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains a delicate and fact-sensitive one . . . ."). Just as a reasonable observer would not understand general statements of religious conviction to inform later government action, nor would we look to such statements as evidence of purpose. A person's particular religious beliefs, her college essay on religious freedom, a speech she gave on the Free Exercise Clause-rarely, if ever, will such evidence reveal anything about that person's actions once in office. For a past statement to be relevant to the government's purpose, there must be a substantial, specific connection between it and the challenged government action. And here, in this highly unique set of circumstances, there is a direct link between the President's numerous campaign statements promising a Muslim ban that targets territories, the discrete action he took only one week into office executing that exact plan, and EO-2, the "watered down" version of that plan that "get[s] just about everything, " and "in some ways, more." J.A. 370.

         For similar reasons, we reject the Government's argument that our review of these campaign statements will "inevitably 'chill political debate during campaigns.'" Appellants' Br. 50 (quoting Phelps v. Hamilton, 59 F.3d 1058, 1068 (10th Cir. 1995)). Not all-not even most-political debate will have any relevance to a challenged government action. Indeed, this case is unique not because we are considering campaign statements, but because we have such directly relevant and probative statements of government purpose at all. See Smith v. Town of Clarkton, 682 F.2d 1055, 1064 (4th Cir. 1982) (observing that government actors "seldom, if ever, announce on the record that they are pursuing a particular course of action because of their desire to discriminate"). To the extent that our review chills campaign promises to condemn and exclude entire religious groups, we think that a welcome restraint.

         Lastly, the Government contends that we are ill-equipped to "attempt[] to assess what campaign statements reveal about the motivation for later action." Appellants' Br. 50. The Government argues that to do so would "mire [us] in a swamp of unworkable litigation, " id. (quoting Amended Order, Washington v. Trump, No. 17-35105, slip op. at 13 (9th Cir. Mar. 17, 2017) (Kozinski, J., dissenting from denial of reconsideration en banc)), and "forc[e us] to wrestle with intractable questions, " such as "the level of generality at which a statement must be made, by whom, and how long after its utterance the statement remains probative." Id. But discerning the motives behind a challenged government action is a well-established part of our purpose inquiry. McCreary, 545 U.S. at 861 ("Examination of purpose is a staple of statutory interpretation that makes up the daily fare of every appellate court in the country, and governmental purpose is a key element of a good deal of constitutional doctrine." (citations omitted)). As part of this inquiry, courts regularly evaluate decisionmakers' statements that show their purpose for acting. See, e.g., Green v. Haskell Cty. Bd. of Comm'rs, 568 F.3d 784, 801 (10th Cir. 2009) (considering news reports quoting county commissioners who described both their determination to keep challenged religious display at issue and the strength of their religious beliefs); Glassroth, 355 F.3d at 1297 (reviewing elected judge's campaign materials for evidence of his purpose in installing religious display); Brown v. Gilmore, 258 F.3d 265, 277 (4th Cir. 2001) (reviewing state legislators' statements in discerning purpose of statute challenged under the Establishment Clause); see also Edwards, 482 U.S. at 586-87 (looking to statute's text together with its sponsor's public comments to discern its purpose). And the purpose inquiry is not limited to Establishment Clause challenges; we conduct this analysis in a variety of contexts. See, e.g., United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675, 2693 (2013) (striking down federal statute based in part on "strong evidence" that "the congressional purpose [was] to influence or interfere with state sovereign choices about who may be married"); Pers. Adm'r of Mass. v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256, 279-80 (1979) (upholding public hiring preferences based in part on finding that government had not created preferences with purpose of discriminating on the basis of sex); N.C. State Conference of NAACP v. McCrory, 831 F.3d 204, 219 (4th Cir. 2016), cert. denied sub nom. North Carolina v. N.C. State Conference of NAACP, No. 16-833, 2017 WL 2039439 (U.S. May 15, 2017) (concluding that challenged voting restrictions were unconstitutional because they were motivated by racially discriminatory intent). We therefore see nothing "intractable" about evaluating a statement's probative value based on the identity of the speaker and how specifically the statement relates to the challenged government action, for this is surely a routine part of constitutional analysis. And this analysis is even more straightforward here, because we are not attempting to discern motive from many legislators' statements, as in Brown, but rather are looking primarily to one person's statements to discern that person's motive for taking a particular action once in office.

         The Government has repeatedly asked this Court to ignore evidence, circumscribe our own review, and blindly defer to executive action, all in the name of the Constitution's separation of powers. We decline to do so, not only because it is the particular province of the judicial branch to say what the law is, but also because we would do a disservice to our constitutional structure were we to let its mere invocation silence the call for meaningful judicial review. The deference we give the coordinate branches is surely powerful, but even it must yield in certain circumstances, lest we abdicate our own duties to uphold the Constitution.

         EO-2 cannot be divorced from the cohesive narrative linking it to the animus that inspired it. In light of this, we find that the reasonable observer would likely conclude that EO-2's primary purpose is to exclude persons from the United States on the basis of their religious beliefs. We therefore find that EO-2 likely fails Lemon's purpose prong in violation of the Establishment Clause.[22] Accordingly, we hold that the district court did not err in concluding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim.

         B.

         Because we uphold the district court's conclusion that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim, we next consider whether Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction. Winter, 555 U.S. at 22; Musgrave, 553 F.3d at 298. As we have previously recognized, "in the context of an alleged violation of First Amendment rights, a plaintiff's claimed irreparable harm is inseparably linked to the likelihood of success on the merits." Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, 722 F.3d 184, 190 (4th Cir. 2013) (en banc) (quoting Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, 779 F.Supp.2d 456, 471 (D. Md. 2011)). Accordingly, our finding that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their constitutional claim counsels in favor of finding that in the absence of an injunction, they will suffer irreparable harm.

         Indeed, the Supreme Court has stated in no uncertain terms that "loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury." Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373 (1976) (plurality opinion); see also Johnson v. Bergland, 586 F.2d 993, 995 (4th Cir. 1978) ("Violations of first amendment rights constitute per se irreparable injury."). Though the Elrod Court was addressing freedom of speech and association, our sister circuits have interpreted it to apply equally to Establishment Clause violations. See, e.g., Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches v. England, 454 F.3d 290, 302 (D.C. Cir. 2006); Ingebretsen v. Jackson Pub. Sch. Dist., 88 F.3d 274, 280 (5th Cir. 1996); Parents' Ass'n of P.S. 16 v. Quinones, 803 F.2d 1235, 1242 (2d Cir. 1986); ACLU of Ill. v. City of St. Charles, 794 F.2d 265, 274 (7th Cir. 1986). We agree with these courts that because of "the inchoate, one-way nature of Establishment Clause violations, " they create the same type of immediate, irreparable injury as do other types of First Amendment violations. Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, 454 F.3d at 303; see also id. ("[W]hen an Establishment Clause violation is alleged, infringement occurs the moment the government action takes place . . . ."). We therefore find that Plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable harm if Section 2(c) of EO-2 takes effect.

         C.

         Even if Plaintiffs are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction, we still must determine that the balance of the equities tips in their favor, "pay[ing] particular regard for the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of injunction." Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305, 312 (1982). This is because "courts of equity may go to greater lengths to give 'relief in furtherance of the public interest than they are accustomed to go when only private interests are involved.'" E. Tenn. Nat. Gas Co. v. Sage, 361 F.3d 808, 826 (4th Cir. 2004) (quoting Virginian Ry. Co. v. Sys. Fed'n No. 40, 300 U.S. 515, 552 (1937)). As the district court did, we consider the balance of the equities and the public interest factors together.

         The Government first contends that "the injunction causes [it] direct, irreparable injury" that outweighs the irreparable harm to Plaintiffs because "'no governmental interest is more compelling than the security of the Nation.'" Appellants' Br. 54 (quoting Haig v. Agee, 453 U.S. 280, 307 (1981)). When it comes to national security, the Government argues, the judicial branch "should not second-guess" the President's "'[p]redictive judgment[s].'" Appellants' Br. 55 (quoting Dep't of the Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518, 529 (1988)). The Government further argues that the injunction causes institutional injury, because according to two single-Justice opinions, "[a]ny time a State is enjoined by a court from effectuating statutes enacted by representatives of its people, it suffers a form of irreparable injury." Maryland v. King, 567 U.S. 1301, 1303 (2012) (Roberts, C.J., in chambers) (quoting New Motor Vehicle Bd. of Cal. v. Orrin W. Fox Co., 434 U.S. 1345, 1351 (1977) (Rehnquist, J., in chambers)). The Government contends that this principle applies here because the President "represents the people of all 50 states." Appellants' Reply Br. 25.

         At the outset, we reject the notion that the President, because he or she represents the entire nation, suffers irreparable harm whenever an executive action is enjoined. This Court has held that the Government is "in no way harmed by issuance of a preliminary injunction which prevents [it] from enforcing restrictions likely to be found unconstitutional." Centro Tepeyac, 722 F.3d at 191 (quoting Giovani Carandola, Ltd. v. Bason, 303 F.3d 507, 521 (4th Cir. 2002)). "If anything, " we said, "the system is improved by such an injunction." Id. (quoting Giovani Carandola, 303 F.3d at 521). Because Section 2(c) of EO-2 is likely unconstitutional, allowing it to take effect would therefore inflict the greater institutional injury. And we are not persuaded that the general deference we afford the political branches ought to nevertheless tip the equities in the Government's favor, for even the President's actions are not above judicial scrutiny, and especially not where those actions are likely unconstitutional. See Zadvydas, 533 U.S. at 695; Chadha, 462 U.S. at 941-42.

         We are likewise unmoved by the Government's rote invocation of harm to "national security interests" as the silver bullet that defeats all other asserted injuries. See United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258, 264 (1967) ("Th[e] concept of 'national defense' cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of legislative power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideals which set this Nation apart. . . . [O]ur country has taken singular pride in the democratic ideals enshrined in its Constitution, and the most cherished of those ideals have found expression in the First Amendment. It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of those liberties . . . which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile."). National security may be the most compelling of government interests, but this does not mean it will always tip the balance of the equities in favor of the government. See Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 U.S. 1, 34 (2010) (agreeing with the dissent that the government's "authority and expertise in [national security and foreign relations] matters do not automatically trump the Court's own obligation to secure the protection that the Constitution grants to individuals" (quoting id. at 61 (Breyer, J., dissenting))). A claim of harm to national security must still outweigh the competing claim of injury. Here and elsewhere, the Government would have us end our inquiry without scrutinizing either Section 2(c)'s stated purpose or the Government's asserted interests, but "unconditional deference to a government agent's invocation of 'emergency' . . . has a lamentable place in our history, " Patrolmen's Benevolent Ass'n of New York v. City of New York, 310 F.3d 43, 53-54 (2d. Cir. 2002) (citing Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214, 223 (1944)), and is incompatible with our duty to evaluate the evidence before us.

         As we previously determined, the Government's asserted national security interest in enforcing Section 2(c) appears to be a post hoc, secondary justification for an executive action rooted in religious animus and intended to bar Muslims from this country. We remain unconvinced that Section 2(c) has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President's promised Muslim ban. We do not discount that EO-2 may have some national security purpose, nor do we disclaim that the injunction may have some impact on the Government. But our inquiry, whether for determining Section 2(c)'s primary purpose or for weighing the harm to the parties, is one of balance, and on balance, we cannot say that the Government's asserted national security interest outweighs the competing harm to Plaintiffs of the likely Establishment Clause violation.

         For similar reasons, we find that the public interest counsels in favor of upholding the preliminary injunction. As this and other courts have recognized, upholding the Constitution undeniably promotes the public interest. Giovani Carandola, 303 F.3d at 521 ("[U]pholding constitutional rights surely serves the public interest."); see also Melendres v. Arpaio, 695 F.3d 990, 1002 (9th Cir. 2012) ("[I]t is always in the public interest to prevent the violation of a party's constitutional rights." (quoting Sammartano v. First Jud. Dist. Ct., 303 F.3d 959, 974 (9th Cir. 2002))); Dayton Area Visually Impaired Pers., Inc. v. Fisher, 70 F.3d 1474, 1490 (6th Cir. 1995) ("[T]he public as a whole has a significant interest in ensuring . . . protection of First Amendment liberties."). These cases recognize that when we protect the constitutional rights of the few, it inures to the benefit of all. And even more so here, where the constitutional violation injures Plaintiffs and in the process permeates and ripples across entire religious groups, communities, and society at large.

         When the government chooses sides on religious issues, the "inevitable result" is "hatred, disrespect and even contempt" towards those who fall on the wrong side of the line. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 431 (1962). Improper government involvement with religion "tends to destroy government and to degrade religion, " id., encourage persecution of religious minorities and nonbelievers, and foster hostility and division in our pluralistic society. The risk of these harms is particularly acute here, where from the highest elected office in the nation has come an Executive Order steeped in animus and directed at a single religious group. "The fullest realization of true religious liberty requires that government neither engage in nor compel religious practices, that it effect no favoritism among sects or between religion and nonreligion, and that it work deterrence of no religious belief." Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Goldberg, J. concurring). We therefore conclude that enjoining Section 2(c) promotes the public interest of the highest order. And because Plaintiffs have satisfied all the requirements for securing a preliminary injunction, we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in enjoining Section 2(c) of EO-2.

         V.

         Lastly, having concluded that Plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction, we address the scope of that injunction. The Government first argues that the district court erred by enjoining Section 2(c) nationwide, and that any injunctive relief should be limited solely to Plaintiffs.

         It is well-established that "district courts have broad discretion when fashioning injunctive relief." Ostergren v. Cuccinelli, 615 F.3d 263, 288 (4th Cir. 2010). Nevertheless, "their powers are not boundless." Id. The district court's choice of relief "should be carefully addressed to the circumstances of the case, " Va. Soc'y for Human Life, Inc. v. FEC, 263 F.3d 379, 393 (4th Cir. 2001), overruled on other grounds by Real Truth About Abortion, Inc. v. FEC, 681 F.3d 544 (4th Cir. 2012), and "should be no more burdensome to the defendant than necessary to provide complete relief to the plaintiffs, " Madsen v. Women's Health Ctr., Inc., 512 U.S. 753, 765 (1994). Courts may issue nationwide injunctions consistent with these principles. See Richmond Tenants Org., Inc. v. Kemp, 956 F.2d 1300, 1308-09 (4th Cir. 1992).

         The district court here found that a number of factors weighed in favor of a nationwide injunction, and we see no error. First, Plaintiffs are dispersed throughout the United States. See J.A. 263, 273; see also Richmond Tenants Org., 956 F.2d at 1308-09 (upholding nationwide injunction where challenged conduct caused irreparable harm in myriad jurisdictions across the country). Second, nationwide injunctions are especially appropriate in the immigration context, as Congress has made clear that "the immigration laws of the United States should be enforced vigorously and uniformly." Texas v. United States, 809 F.3d 134, 187-88 (5th Cir. 2015), aff'd by an equally divided court, 136 S.Ct. 2271 (2016) (quoting Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 99-603, § 115(1), 100 Stat. 3359, 3384); see also Arizona v. United States, 132 S.Ct. 2492, 2502 (2015) (describing the "comprehensive and unified system" of "track[ing] aliens within the Nation's borders"). And third, because Section 2(c) likely violates the Establishment Clause, enjoining it only as to Plaintiffs would not cure the constitutional deficiency, which would endure in all Section 2(c)'s applications. Its continued enforcement against similarly situated individuals would only serve to reinforce the "message" that Plaintiffs "are outsiders, not full members of the political community." Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 309 (quoting Lynch, 465 U.S. at 688 (O'Connor, J., concurring)). For these reasons, we find that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that a nationwide injunction was "necessary to provide complete relief." Madsen, 512 U.S. at 778.

         Finally, the Government argues that the district court erred by issuing the injunction against the President himself. Appellants' Br. 55 (citing Mississippi v. Johnson, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 475, 501 (1866) (finding that a court could not enjoin the President from carrying out an act of Congress)). We recognize that "in general, 'this court has no jurisdiction of a bill to enjoin the President in the performance of his official duties, '" Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 802-03 (1992) (opinion of O'Connor, J.) (quoting Johnson, 71 U.S. at 501), and that a "grant of injunctive relief against the President himself is extraordinary, and should . . . raise[] judicial eyebrows, " id. at 802. In light of the Supreme Court's clear warning that such relief should be ordered only in the rarest of circumstances we find that the district court erred in issuing an injunction against the President himself. We therefore lift the injunction as to the President only. The court's preliminary injunction shall otherwise remain fully intact.

         To be clear, our conclusion does not "in any way suggest[] that Presidential action is unreviewable. Review of the legality of Presidential action can ordinarily be obtained in a suit seeking to enjoin the officers who attempt to enforce the President's directive." Franklin, 505 U.S. at 828 (Scalia, J., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment). Even though the President is not "directly bound" by the injunction, we "assume it is substantially likely that the President . . . would abide by an authoritative interpretation" of Section 2(c) of the Second Executive Order. Id. at 803 (opinion of O'Connor, J.).

         VI.

         For all of these reasons, we affirm in part and vacate in part the preliminary injunction awarded by the district court. We also deny as moot Defendants' motion for a stay pending appeal.

         AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART

          TRAXLER, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment:

         I concur in the judgment of the majority insofar as it affirms the district court's issuance of a nationwide preliminary injunction as to Section 2(c) of the Executive Order against the officers, agents, and employees of the Executive Branch of the United States, and anyone acting under their authorization or direction, who would attempt to enforce it, because it likely violates the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. I also concur in the judgment of the majority to lift the injunction as to President Trump himself.

          BARBARA MILANO KEENAN, Circuit Judge, with whom JUDGE THACKER joins except as to Part II.A.i., concurring in part and concurring in the judgment:

         I concur in the majority opinion's analysis with respect to its conclusions: (1) that the stated "national security purpose" of the Second Executive Order[1] likely fails Mandel's "bona fide" test and violates the Establishment Clause, see Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972); and (2) that the record before us supports the award of a nationwide injunction.[2] I write separately to express my view that although the plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their claim under Section 1152(a)(1)(A), their request for injunctive relief under the INA nevertheless is supported by the failure of Section 2(c) to satisfy the threshold requirement of Section 1182(f) for the President's lawful exercise of authority.[3]

         I.

         As an initial matter, I conclude that John Doe #1 has standing to raise a claim that the Second Executive Order violates the INA.[4] To establish standing under Article III, a plaintiff must show that he has "(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision." Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016). A plaintiff seeking "to enjoin a future action must demonstrate that he is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result" of the challenged conduct, which threat of injury is "both real and immediate." Beck v. McDonald, 848 F.3d 262, 277 (4th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Lebron v. Rumsfeld, 670 F.3d 540, 560 (4th Cir. 2012)).

         Prolonged separation from one's family members constitutes a cognizable injury-in-fact. See Legal Assistance for Vietnamese Asylum Seekers v. Dep't of State, 45 F.3d 469, 471 (D.C. Cir. 1995), vacated on other grounds, 519 U.S. 1 (1996) (per curiam). As the government concedes, by barring entry of nationals from the six identified countries, Section 2(c) of the Second Executive Order operates to delay, or ultimately to prevent, the issuance of visas to nationals from those countries.

         Before the President issued the Second Executive Order, John Doe #1 filed a visa application on behalf of his Iranian national wife, and took substantial steps toward the completion of the visa issuance process. However, his wife's request for a visa is still pending. It is self-evident from the language and operation of the Order that the 90-day "pause" on entry, which the government may extend, is likely to delay the issuance of a visa to John Doe #1's wife and her entry into the United States, a likelihood that is not remote or speculative.[5] Accordingly, I conclude that John Doe #1 has established the existence of an injury-in-fact that is fairly traceable to the Second Executive Order, and which is likely to be redressed by a favorable decision in this case.

         II.

         I turn to consider whether the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction based on the likelihood that the Second Executive Order violates the INA. This Court evaluates a district court's decision to grant a preliminary injunction based on an abuse-of-discretion standard. Aggarao v. MOL Ship Mgmt. Co., 675 F.3d 355, 366 (4th Cir. 2012). Under this standard, we review the district court's factual findings for clear error and review its legal conclusions de novo. Dewhurst v. Century Aluminum Co., 649 F.3d 287, 290 (4th Cir. 2011).

         A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy, " which may be awarded only upon a "clear showing" that a plaintiff is entitled to such relief. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. FEC, 575 F.3d 342, 345-46 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008)), vacated on other grounds, 559 U.S. 1089 (2010). Preliminary relief affords a party before trial the type of relief ordinarily available only after trial. Id. at 345. A preliminary injunction must be supported by four elements: (1) a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that the plaintiff likely will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of equities weighs in the plaintiff's favor; and (4) that a preliminary injunction is in the public interest. Id. at 346.

         A.

         I begin by considering whether the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of a claim that the Second Executive Order fails to comply with the requirements of the INA. In interpreting a statute, courts first must consider the plain meaning of the statutory language. United States v. Ide, 624 F.3d 666, 668 (4th Cir. 2010). A statute's plain meaning derives from consideration of all the words employed, rather than from reliance on isolated statutory phrases. Id. (citing United States v. Mitchell, 518 F.3d 230, 233-34 (4th Cir. 2008)).

         i.

         Initially, I would reject the plaintiffs' contention that 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of nationality in the issuance of immigrant visas, operates as a limitation on the President's authority under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) to "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens" if he finds that the entry of such aliens "would be detrimental to the interests of the United States." Section 1152(a)(1)(A) provides that:

[N]o 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.

         Thus, the plain language of Section 1152(a)(1)(A) addresses an alien's ability to obtain an immigrant visa. Section 1182(f), on the other hand, explicitly addresses an alien's ability to enter the United States, and makes no reference to the issuance of visas. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f). I am unpersuaded by the plaintiffs' attempt to read into Section 1152(a)(1)(A) terms that do not appear in the statute's plain language.

         Sections 1152(a)(1)(A) and 1182(f) address two distinct actions in the context of immigration, namely, the issuance of a visa and the denial of an alien's ability to enter the United States. Indeed, the fact that an alien possesses a visa does not guarantee that person's ability to enter the United States. For example, an alien who possesses a visa may nonetheless be denied admission into the United States for a variety of reasons set forth elsewhere in the INA. See 8 U.S.C. ยง 1201(h) ("Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to entitle any alien, to whom a visa or other documentation has been issued, to be admitted [sic] the United States, if, upon arrival at a port of entry in the United States, he is found to be inadmissible under this chapter, or any ...


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