Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday that a judicial injunction which halted President Donald Trump’s travel-ban order last month also should block enforcement of the president’s revised order.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson will try to block President Donald Trump’s latest travel-ban executive order by returning to the same judge who halted the first version.
Ferguson said his office will ask U.S. District Judge James Robart to confirm that the Feb. 3 injunction against Trump’s initial travel ban also applies to similar portions of the president’s new order, which restricts travel for people from six Muslim-majority nations.
“The revised executive order does narrow the scope of who is impacted by it, but that does not mean it has cured its constitutional problems,” Ferguson, a Democrat, said at a news conference Thursday in Seattle.
He said the burden will be on the federal government to prove Robart’s injunction no longer applies.
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White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Trump administration is confident its revised ban will withstand legal scrutiny. At a media briefing Thursday, Spicer said administration officials “feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given.”
The revised travel ban, which Trump said was necessary for national security, is scheduled to go into effect March 16.
Ferguson said the attorneys general of Oregon and New York have asked to join Washington’s lawsuit. Minnesota had joined the case early on.
Hawaii, on Wednesday, filed a separate legal challenge against the new executive order, saying it harms the state’s Muslim population and tourist-heavy economy.
Gov. Jay Inslee praised the new legal action, saying one part of Trump’s order that has not received enough attention is the attempt to halve the number of refugees admitted to the U.S.
“The bottom line is, we think this nation has always been a place of refuge. And we don’t believe Donald Trump ought to be able to say that America had half the heart that it did the day before he took the oath of office,” Inslee said at his weekly news conference.
Trump’s first travel order, signed Jan. 27, led to the immediate cancellation of 60,000 visas, prompting widespread chaos and demonstrations at airports and cities across the country.
In his Feb. 3 ruling, which halted enforcement of Trump’s travel ban nationwide, Robart said Washington had proved the ban was causing “immediate and irreparable injury.” He also ruled the state had a substantial likelihood of winning its underlying lawsuit arguing the travel ban was unconstitutional.
A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously upheld Robart’s ruling. Despite vowing to appeal, the Trump administration instead withdrew the initial executive order and submitted the new version this week.
The Jan. 27 executive order applied to citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The new order, signed Monday, applies to those same countries except for Iraq, which has been removed.
Citing national security, the order imposes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of those nations. Like the first version, the new order would also halt refugees from entering the country for 120 days.
The new order also allows explicit exemptions for legal permanent residents and existing visa holders.
Also gone from the new version is any stated preference for religious minorities from the Muslim nations.
Still, Ferguson and other critics of the Trump order say they’ll still present evidence it was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment.
They have repeatedly pointed to the president’s call during his campaign for a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Local experts on constitutional and immigration law told The Seattle Times this week the narrower travel ban avoids some of the legal issues that brought down the first one, but could still prove vulnerable to court challenges.