MLFA Presents Oral Argument in the Case of Jibril v. Mayorkas

Muslim Legal Fund of America’s (MLFA) Civil Litigation Department Head, Christina A. Jump, presented an oral argument at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Jibril v. Mayorkas. Ms. Jump argued on behalf of the Jibril family. Our attorneys reached this argument after years of advocating for the Jibrils’ rights in the courts.  

The Jibrils, a family of seven, were separated, questioned, searched, and detained by federal agents in 2018 while traveling to and from Jordan.  Agents separated the parents from their two-year-old and other minor children, and patted down and searched them all extensively, with long delays. They challenged these actions based on their reasonable belief the FBI placed one or more of them on the Terrorist Watchlist, maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center. 

On the first appeal in this case, the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Jibrils and reversed the judgment against them from the district court level. The D.C. Circuit recognized the absurdity of the government’s argument that the family members had no right to sue because they wouldn’t know whether they remain on the Watchlist unless they try to fly again and risk the same treatment—when the only reason they don’t know whether they remain on the Watchlist is that the government refuses to tell them. Equally important, the D.C. Circuit recognized that the desire to fly in the future for religious reasons qualifies as a valid legal interest.  

When the case went back to the district court, the government filed a new motion to dismiss and for the first time provided information in camera (meaning for only the judge to see) that purports to show there is no more risk to any family member – and hasn’t been since before the first filing of the lawsuit in 2018.. The district court “reluctantly” granted that motion to dismiss, and we appealed again.  

MLFA’s Christina Jump argued that much of what the government has inflicted on the Jibril family could have been avoided if the government had been transparent from the beginning, especially as to the minor children. The Jibrils still have the right to challenge how the government treated them by suing in court. And, since the government could put any or all of them on the Watchlist again at any time, for any reason, they remain at risk. 

Listen to MLFA’s Christian Jump’s full argument below.