The American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $24 million and added more than 130,000 new members after filing a lawsuit to block President Donald Trump's controversial ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries to prevent them from entering the United States.
"I’ve never seen anything like this," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the civil liberties group, told Yahoo! News. "People are fired up and want to be engaged. What we’ve seen is an unprecedented public reaction to the challenges of the Trump administration."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two men from Iraq, one of the seven countries placed on the ban list. One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was traveling to the U.S. on an Iraqi special Immigrant Visa and had worked as a contractor for the U.S. government from 2003 to 2010, according to the ACLU. Darweesh had worked as an interpreter for Brandon Friedman, a former President Barack Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq.
"Guy literally spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq. He was one of the first to sign up in 2003. He is fearless," Friedman said on Twitter. "He's from Iraq, but he's done more for America than Donald Trump ever will. Hope the President has the decency to let him in.
In response to the lawsuit, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn blocked the part of Trump's order that mandated travelers affected by the ban must be sent home, saying such an action could cause "irreparable harm," reported The New York Times.
Donnelly said the government was "enjoined and restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals" who had arrived to the U.S. with valid visas or refugee status.
But the judge's block didn't say that the affected travelers must be allowed into the country and left open the constitutionality question of Trump's actions.
Outrage over Trump's decision sparked protests at airports around the country. U.S. Customs officials at many of those airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, had detained individuals who were en route to the U.S. when the ban was signed by Trump and immediately implemented.
"It's really clear that this is a different type of moment," Romero told USA Today. "People want to know what they can do. They want to be deployed as protagonists in this fight. It's not a spectator sport."