Over a dozen state attorneys general have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Washington state's lawsuit against President Trump’s temporary travel ban.
The brief outlined the immigration order’s impact on residents, economies and educational and medical institutions across the country.
The filing is signed by 16 attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia — all Democrats.
“This filing is about keeping our communities safe, protecting our economy, and upholding the rule of law,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) in a statement. “Pennsylvania was founded on the promise of liberty, and we’re proud to help lead this effort in support of Washington state’s lawsuit.”
The week-old executive order, which bans people from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, has sparked dozens of lawsuits. The policy also halts the United States's refugee resettlement program for 120 days, while indefinitely suspending resettlement for refugees from Syria.
Trump says the policy is needed to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the country.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) — joined by Minnesota — is suing the administration to invalidate key provisions of the executive order and asked for the ban to be immediately suspended.
Ferguson argues that the ban harms state residents, employers and educational institutions by separating families and damaging the economy. Attorneys for the Trump administration maintain that Washington does not have the legal standing to bring the lawsuit, and maintain that the president has broad power over immigration under both the Constitution and federal law.
A federal judge in Washington agreed to issue a nationwide restraining order temporarily halting the ban on Friday while he considers the case. A ruling from the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is expected in the coming days on whether to allow the immigration policy to remain on hold.
The amicus brief co-authored by the 16 attorneys general argues that states have the legal standing to challenge the immigration order because the policy inflicts harm on the states.
They said barring students, tourists and business visitors from entering the country will lead to diminished tax revenues; impact medical institutions ability to provide care; disrupt educational institutions; and violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another.
They also said that lifting the restraining order would thrust the country back into chaos, similar to the mass confusion that erupted at airports after Trump first signed the executive order.
“State Attorneys General are on the front lines of protecting our people from dangerous and hastily-implemented federal policy. I’ve been clear: President Trump’s executive order is unconstitutional, unlawful, and fundamentally un-American — and we won’t stand by while it undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (D).
“From filing our own federal lawsuit last week, to partnering with fellow attorneys general on this amicus brief today, we will use every tool at our disposal to fight President Trump’s discriminatory order and help ensure the rule of law prevails.”