By Jaweed Kaleem
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday that the state would take President Donald Trump to court to block enforcement of his new, revamped travel order pausing refugee resettlement and travel from six majority-Muslim countries.
Washington state's lawsuit against the first travel ban led a Seattle federal court judge to order a national halt to the executive order, which had caused chaos at airports around the country and led to the cancelation of 60,000 travel visas.
At a news conference Thursday, Ferguson said he would file a motion asking the judge in the case, James Robart, to apply the restraining order against the old travel ban to the new one.
Ferguson said the state's challenges to the new travel ban remain largely the same as the first one, which it said was discriminatory against Muslims and caused unnecessary harm to the state's residents, universities and businesses.
Washington is joined by Minnesota in its suit. On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the state would also file to join the lawsuit.
The states follow Hawaii, which filed a complaint in a Honolulu federal court against the revised travel ban on Wednesday.
Hawaii's complaint says it objects to the new travel order because it has "profound" and "detrimental" effects on the state's economy and people. The state also argues that the executive order discriminates against Muslims and violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Constitution.
"(W)hile the president signed a revised version on March 6 ... we still know exactly what it means. It is another attempt by the administration to enact a discriminatory ban that goes against the fundamental teachings of our Constitution and our immigration laws, even if it is cloaked in ostensibly neutral terms," the state says in its filing.
The state's new complaint amends its initial challenge to an earlier, more comprehensive travel ban issued by the Trump administration in January.
A hearing is set for March 15 in Honolulu on Hawaii's request for a national temporary restraining order on the new travel order, which is scheduled to take effect March 16.
The intent of both travel orders, Trump administration officials say, is to screen out visitors from countries affected by terrorism until more stringent vetting measures can be put into place.
The new order has been stripped of many provisions that federal judges across the country found troublesome in the first one.
Trump's new order does not give preference to religious minorities in refugee admissions. It exempts several categories of people from its restrictions, including dual nationals who have U.S. citizenship, green card holders and people who already hold valid visas.
Legal experts have said the new travel ban, which applies to citizens of Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen (it does not include Iraq as the previous order did), will be tougher to fight in court because of the president's broad authority over immigration enforcement and national security when it comes to noncitizens and those without visas.
The Department of Justice has argued in federal court filings this week that several court orders calling for a halt to the first ban do not apply to the new one. In Washington state, government lawyers have filed papers saying that the new order "falls out of the scope" of Robart's earlier injunction.
(c)2017 Los Angeles Times