U.S. judge tem­po­rar­ily blocks Trump’s travel ban na­tion­wide

Wash­ing­ton state and Min­nesota sue to over­turn ex­ec­u­tive or­der

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - MARTHA BEL­LISLE

A U.S. judge on Fri­day tem­po­rar­ily blocked Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ban on trav­ellers and im­mi­grants from seven pre­dom­i­nantly Muslim coun­tries af­ter Wash­ing­ton state and Min­nesota urged a na­tion­wide hold on the ex­ec­u­tive or­der that has launched le­gal bat­tles across the coun­try.

U.S. District Judge James Ro­bart in Seat­tle ruled that the states had stand­ing to chal­lenge Trump’s or­der, which gov­ern­ment lawyers dis­puted, and said they showed their case was likely to suc­ceed.

“The state has met its bur­den in demon­strat­ing im­me­di­ate and ir­repara­ble in­jury,” Ro­bart said.

Trump’s or­der last week sparked protests na­tion­wide and con­fu­sion at air­ports as some trav­ellers were de­tained. The White House has ar­gued that it will make the coun­try safer.

Wash­ing­ton be­came the first state to sue over the or­der that tem­po­rar­ily bans travel for peo­ple from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Su­dan, So­ma­lia, Libya and Ye­men and sus­pends the U.S. refugee pro­gram.

State At­tor­ney Gen­eral Bob Fer­gu­son said this week that the travel ban sig­nif­i­cantly harms res­i­dents and ef­fec­tively man­dates dis­crim­i­na­tion. Min­nesota joined the suit two days later.

Af­ter the rul­ing, Fer­gu­son said peo­ple from the af­fected coun­tries can now ap­ply for en­try to the U.S.

“Judge Ro­bart’s de­ci­sion, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately ... puts a halt to Pres­i­dent Trump’s un­con­sti­tu­tional and un­law­ful ex­ec­u­tive or­der,” Fer­gu­son said. “The law is a pow­er­ful thing — it has the abil­ity to hold ev­ery­body accountable to it, and that in­cludes the pres­i­dent of the United States.”

Gil­lian M. Chris­tensen, speak­ing for the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, said the agency doesn’t com­ment on pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion.

Fed­eral lawyers had ar­gued that Con­gress gave the pres­i­dent author­ity to make de­ci­sions on na­tional se­cu­rity and im­mi­grant en­try.

The two states won a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der while the court con­sid­ers the law­suit, which aims to block Trump’s or­der per­ma­nently. Court chal­lenges have been filed na­tion­wide from states and ad­vo­cacy groups.

Up to 60,000 for­eign­ers from the seven ma­jor­ity-Muslim coun­tries had their visas can­celled be­cause of the ex­ec­u­tive or­der, the State De­part­ment said Fri­day.

That fig­ure con­tra­dicts a state­ment from a Jus­tice De­part­ment lawyer on the same day dur­ing a court hear­ing in Vir­ginia about the ban. The lawyer in that case said about 100,000 visas had been re­voked.

The State De­part­ment clar­i­fied that the higher fig­ure in­cludes diplo­matic and other visas that were ac­tu­ally ex­empted from the travel ban, as well as ex­pired visas.

Wash­ing­ton and Min­nesota’s law­suit says Trump cam­paigned on a prom­ise to bar Mus­lims from com­ing to the U.S. and kept up that rhetoric while de­fend­ing the travel ban. Lawyers pointed to dozens of speeches and state­ments Trump has made.

“The ex­ec­u­tive or­der ef­fec­tively man­dates that the states en­gage in dis­crim­i­na­tion based on na­tional ori­gin and/or re­li­gion, thereby re­scind­ing the states’ his­toric pro­tec­tion of civil rights and re­li­gious free­dom,” the com­plaint says.

Fer­gu­son said the or­der is harm­ing Wash­ing­ton res­i­dents, busi­nesses and its ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. It will re­duce tax rev­enue and im­pose sig­nif­i­cant costs on state agen­cies, as well as make it im­pos­si­ble for some state em­ploy­ees and stu­dents to travel, he said.

Wash­ing­ton-based busi­nesses Ama­zon, Ex­pe­dia and Mi­crosoft sup­port the state’s ef­forts to stop the or­der. They say it’s hurt­ing their op­er­a­tions, too.

Lawyers for Wash­ing­ton state said an­other hear­ing was ex­pected in the next few weeks.

Law … has the abil­ity to hold ev­ery­body accountable to it. BOB FER­GU­SON STATE AT­TOR­NEY GEN­ERAL

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.