A federal judge in Seattle will hear arguments Friday in the lawsuit by Attorney General Bob Ferguson seeking to block enforcement of President Trump’s controversial executive order on immigration and refugees.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson is seeking a national restraining order to halt enforcement of Trump’s Jan. 27 action, which indefinitely blocks entry to the United States for Syrian refugees and temporarily suspends entry to citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations.
U.S. District Judge James Robart is scheduled to hear arguments — and possibly rule — on the restraining order at a 2:30 p.m. hearing.
The state of Minnesota has joined Washington’s lawsuit, and several other states have launched separate legal actions challenging Trump’s immigration order.
In a legal filing in support of the proposed restraining order, Ferguson, a Democrat, argues the immigration order targets Muslims, violating the constitutional rights of immigrants and their families.
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“Federal courts have no more sacred role than protecting marginalized groups against irrational, discriminatory conduct,” said the motion by Ferguson, state solicitor general Noah Purcell and Colleen Melody, head of the attorney general’s civil-rights unit.
But in a response brief filed late Thursday, attorneys for the Trump administration argued Washington state lacks standing to bring the challenge — and that the president is properly exercising his border-security powers.
“Every President over the last thirty years has invoked this authority to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of certain aliens or classes of aliens, in some instances including classifications based on nationality,” said the administration brief, submitted by Chad Readler, acting assistant U.S. attorney general, and other Justice Department lawyers.
The administration brief also cited previous court rulings which say there is no consitutional right of entry to the U.S. for foreign nationals.
Ferguson’s lawsuit is supported by some major Washington businesses including Amazon, Microsoft and Expedia, which have argued the immigration order is harming employees and their dependents.
Organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and Service Employees International Union also have filed court papers in support of the lawsuit.
Peter Lavallee, a spokesman for Ferguson’s office, said even if Robart rejects the state’s request for a temporary order, the underlying lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the executive order will go on.