States Urge Appeals Court Not to Reinstate Trump's Immigration Ban

Removing a hold on President Trump’s travel moratorium would “unleash chaos again” and hurt business and universities, two states told a federal appeals court Monday.
by | February 6, 2017 AT 1:00 PM

By Maura Dolan

Removing a hold on President Trump’s travel moratorium would “unleash chaos again” and hurt business and universities, two states told a federal appeals court Monday.

In written arguments, lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota  said a temporary hold on Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations should remain in place until a lower court determines whether the order was unconstitutional.

After a district judge in Washington put a hold on Trump’s directive, the Trump administration asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove it. The court will issue a decision after receiving arguments from the Trump administration later this afternoon.

The state of Washington citied a litany of problems caused by the order. More than 7,000 non-citizen immigrants from the affected countries live in Washington, the state told the appeals court.

“Those who were abroad were blocked from returning home,” the states argued. “Husbands were separated from wives, brothers from sisters, and parents from their children.  Some who had waited decades to see family members had that reunion taken away without warning or reason.”

Nearly 100 businesses, including well-known technology firms like Apple, Google, Twitter and Uber, filed arguments supporting the states’ case.

The companies argued the ban was disruptive, making it more difficult for them to recruit and retain employees and threatening their ability to attract attract talent, business, and investment to the United States.

A number of former national security and intelligence officials—including former secretaries of state John Kerry and Madeleine Albright, former defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta, and ex-national security advisor Susan Rice—also sided with the states.

In a declaration, they argued that the order "could do long-term damage to our national security and foreign policy interests, endangering U.S. troops in the field and disrupting counter-terrorism and national security partnerships.”

They said the ban on immigration from targeted countries could boost the militant group Islamic State’s  propaganda and recruitment "by feeding into the narrative that the United States is at war with Islam." They said it would hinder relationships with the very communities that law enforcement professionals need to help them address the threat.

Trump’s Jan. 27 order, which he said was designed to help the country block potential terrorists, suspended entry from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Iran—prompting chaos at airports and protests around the world.

It also suspended new refugee settlements in the U.S., targeting Syrian refugees with indefinite suspension.

Several courts across the country have ruled against portions of the ban, but U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle on Friday imposed a temporary restraining order setting aside enforcement of its key provisions nationwide, pending a full legal review.

The Justice Department is asking the appeals court to stay that order, and Monday’s brief from the states argues against that.

The states in their brief filed early Monday contended the order hurt Washington’s economy by reducing sales tax revenues from travelers and depriving major tech companies of the work of skilled immigrants.

Hundreds of faculty, staff and students from Washington’s public university also suffered, the states contended. Some were immediately stranded overseas, and others have been unable to travel for research, according to the states.

“Staying the district court’s ruling would re-institute those harms, separating families, stranding our university students and faculty, and barring travel,” the states argued.

The states said that the 9th Circuit should not permit constitutional violations of due process and the free exercise of religion based on the Trump administration’s “unsupported invocation of national security.”

While Trump’s order remains under review by the lower court, “refugees and immigrants from the banned countries will continue to undergo the rigorous screening processes that already existed prior to the order,” the states told the appeals court.

The 9th Circuit refused over the weekend to lift the temporary block on Trump’s travel ban until considering more arguments.

Since then, group after group has filed papers asking to enter the case on the side of the states, including the petition from businesses.

The state of Hawaii, in a request to intervene, also argued the ban would hurt tourism and reduce tax revenues.

In appealing the hold on the executive order, lawyers for the government argued that Washington state lacked standing—or authority—to challenge Trump’s moratorium.

The Trump administration also argued that the hold on the order usurped the authority of the executive branch and  second-guessed “the President’s national security judgment.”

The President, the lawyers argued, has clear authority to decide whether national security makes it necessary to bar certain people from entering the country.

Trump’s lawyers further contended that the harms the states said stemmed from the travel were merely speculative.

(c)2017 Los Angeles Times