Asks court to confirm injunction blocks new Executive Order, President bears burden to demonstrate otherwise
SEATTLE — In documents filed in federal court Thursday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson contends that the injunction he obtained blocking key sections of President Trump’s previous immigration Executive Order applies to the new version.
This is not a new lawsuit. Rather, Ferguson asserts that the burden is on the Trump Administration to argue that the injunction the AG obtained no longer blocks the ban.
“My message to President Trump is — not so fast,” said Ferguson. “After spending more than a month to fix a broken order that he rushed out the door, the President’s new order reinstates several of the same provisions and has the same illegal motivations as the original. Consequently, we are asking Judge Robart to confirm that the injunction he issued remains in full force and effect as to the reinstated provisions.”
On Monday, January 30, Washington filed the first state lawsuit challenging the Administration’s move to restrict immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations and the resettlement of refugees.
U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, presiding over Ferguson’s challenge to the Trump Administration’s initial travel ban, issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on February 3, halting implementation of that Executive Order nationwide. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals later upheld that order in its entirety.
Key provisions of President Trump’s new Executive Order remain largely the same as the original travel ban and thus still subject to Ferguson’s lawsuit and injunction.
Ferguson’s ongoing lawsuit asserts that President Trump’s travel ban unconstitutionally violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, by disfavoring Islam. Washington need not demonstrate that the ban impacts all Muslims, that it covers only Muslims or that it was motivated solely by anti-Islam animus. Rather, the state must establish that such animus was one motivating factor behind the Executive Order.
The AG’s lawsuit also claims that the President’s actions violate the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as well as the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Similar allegations that the Obama Administration did not comply with the APA formed the basis for court decisions suspending President Obama’s immigration reform programs in Texas v. United States.
The Attorney General’s Office anticipates filing an amended complaint on the underlying merits of the case early next week. Oregon and New York will seek to join the case.
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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov