Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Mar 6 2017

Hundreds of thousands allowed to travel after Wash. and Minn. obtained injunction

OLYMPIA — In the wake of President Trump conceding defeat on key provisions of his original Executive Order, Attorney General Bob Ferguson today pledged to scrutinize the Trump Administration’s revised travel ban.

The Administration’s reversal in reaction to a federal court challenge by Ferguson represents an important victory for Washington families, businesses and universities — and the rule of law.

“By rescinding his earlier Executive Order, President Trump makes one thing perfectly clear: His original travel ban was indefensible — legally, constitutionally and morally,” Ferguson said. “The President has capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit, including bans on Green Card holders, visa holders and dual citizens, an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and explicit preferences based on religion. We are carefully reviewing the new Executive Order to determine its impacts on Washington state and our next legal steps.”

The President’s revised Executive Order targets six of the seven majority-Muslim nations identified in the original order; the new order no longer restricts the travel of Iraqi citizens. The new version also substantially reduces the scope of the travel ban in response to Ferguson’s lawsuit, which successfully blocked its implementation nationwide.

The original order, Executive Order 13769, barred all visitors from those seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days. U.S. District Court Senior Judge James L. Robart issued an injunction halting the order after Ferguson filed his lawsuit on Jan. 30 challenging key provisions as illegal and unconstitutional.

Numerous key provisions challenged by Ferguson are eliminated or restricted in the revised order issued today.

The effects of President Trump’s original Executive Order compared to his new, revised order:

  • Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card” Holders)
    • Original order: Restricted the international travel of about 500,000 current Green Card holders who are citizens of the seven targeted countries. Conflicting guidance from the Administration regarding Green Card holders contributed to widespread confusion in the days following the order’s issuance.
    • Revised order: Deleted.
  • Dual Citizens
    • Original order: The Trump Administration initially said that dual citizens — those who hold a passport from one of the seven countries and either a U.S. passport or a passport from another non-banned country — were not permitted to enter the United States for 90 days. Again, shifting Administration guidance contributed to the chaos.
    • Revised order: Deleted.
  •     Visa Holders
    • Original order: Halted, for 90 days, U.S. entry by citizens of the targeted countries with valid visas to visit the U.S. Tens of thousands of previously issued visas were revoked.
    • Revised order: Deleted.
  • Syrian Refugees
    • Original order: Suspended entry of refugees from Syria indefinitely.
    • Revised order: Syrian refugees treated like those from other countries. Following a 90-day moratorium, refugees may be admitted to the U.S. following standard vetting process.
  • Religious Minorities
    • Original order: Prioritized religious-persecution claims by refugees only for minority religions in countries of origin (i.e., non-Muslims in the targeted countries).
    • Revised order: Does not explicitly prioritize refugees based on religion.
  • Affected Countries
    • Original order: Applied to travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
    • Revised order: No longer includes Iraq.
  • Effective Date
    • Original order: Went into effect immediately, causing widespread chaos and confusion at airports around the world.
    • Revised order: Takes effect March 16, 2017.

Overall, thousands of travelers from the seven countries originally identified have arrived at U.S. airports since Judge Robart blocked the original Executive Order, in response to Ferguson’s lawsuit, on Feb. 3. According to the Department of Homeland Security, about 3,000 people from the affected countries arrived between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6 alone.

Refugees from all nations may qualify for admission to the United States, and those who have already been successfully vetted may enter the country. According to the Department of State’s Refugee Processing Center and the Pew Research Center, nearly 3,500 have entered since Feb. 3, including more than 1,800 from the seven targeted nations. Washington state has welcomed more than 200 from all nations in that time frame, and more than 80 from the seven nations.

Refugees remain subject to what the previous Administration described as “more rigorous screening than anyone else” allowed into the United States. The vetting process typically takes 18-24 months, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Among those affected by the President’s original order was Fatemah Reshad, a four-month-old Iranian girl who urgently needed a life-saving heart surgery. Reshad was slated for surgery at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. She and her parents were scheduled to fly from Dubai when the travel ban went into effect, and were re-routed back to Iran and told to reapply for a visa in 90 days. Her family worried she wouldn’t make it that long. She and her parents were granted travel documents the same day the Temporary Restraining Order was granted.

On Jan. 30, Washington became the first state to file suit challenging the President’s original order. On Feb. 3, Judge Robart granted Ferguson’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order, blocking implementation of key sections of Executive Order 13769 nationwide.

Six days later, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the restraining order. On Feb. 16 and again on Feb. 24, the administration asked the court to hold the case until it could finish drafting its new Executive Order to replace the one halted by Ferguson’s lawsuit.


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