Attorney generals from Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Minnesota have pledged to join litigation efforts against President Trump's revised travel ban. Hawaii will also file its own lawsuit against the White House.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson (pictured) welcomed support from his counterparts as he again plans to legally challenge President Donald Trump's revised executive order banning nationals from selected majority-Muslim countries from entering the US.
Washington was the first state to sue over the original ban, arguing that it was unconstitutional and hurt the state's businesses and universities. The lawsuit resulted in a Seattle court issuing a nationwide emergency halt on its implementation - a decision later upheld in a federal appeals court. Ferguson said he will argue before the same Seattle judge that his decision against the original ban should also apply to the President's revised action.
"It cannot be a game of whack-a-mole for the court," Ferguson said. "In our view, this new executive order contains many of the same legal weaknesses as the first and reinstates some of the identical policies as the original."
Trump's new order maintains a 90-day ban on new visas for people from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. It also temporarily shuts down the US refugee program.
Unlike the original ban, the new order removes Iraq from the list of affected countries, ensures that current visa holders will be allowed entry into the country, removes language that would have effectively given priority to non-Muslim religious minorities and removes an indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria.
The original travel order was issued on January 27 and caused widespread chaos and protest across US airports. The White House said the old order will be revoked once the new action goes into effect, scheduled to be on March 16.
Major misgivings over travel ban
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the proposed ban would harm the state's residents, employers, agencies, educational institutions, health care system and economy.
Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, said on Twitter that she was joining the Washington state lawsuit against "Trump's unlawful #MuslimBan2."
The ban, the Democratic lawmaker said, "remains a discriminatory and unconstitutional attempt to make good on his campaign promise to implement a Muslim ban."
Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the revised order "a Muslim ban by another name."
The government has remained tight-lipped ahead of the pending litigation battle over the ban, with a spokeswoman for the US Department of Justice declining to comment on Thursday. However, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters that the Trump administration believed the new order would stand up to legal scrutiny. "We feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given," he said.
Hawaii also takes legal action
Hawaii on Wednesday filed its own lawsuit against Trump's new order, arguing that the state depends heavily on tourism. The revised ban would hurt the state's economy, Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said.
Chin said that because of Hawaii's unique culture and history, the state was unable to remain silent on the ban. The courts need to hear "that there's a state where ethnic diversity is the norm, where people are welcomed with aloha and respect," Chin said.