Washington state reacts to President Trump’s travel ban executive order

President Donald Trump’s executive order, barring travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., prompted several lawsuits, including one filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Background

The travel ban, signed Friday, was effective immediately. Travelers (including permanent residents with visas) from seven Muslim-majority counties, are barred from entering the U.S. The ban is temporary, pending a review into the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program, according to a CNN report.

According to a New York Times report:

The order targets three groups: refugees from any country, who are blocked from entering the United States for the next 120 days; refugees from Syria, who are barred indefinitely; and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, who are barred from entering the United States for at least 90 days. Those countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Travelers from Muslim-majority countries and refugees, who were in-transit as the order was signed, were detained. Some who were detained were sent back on flights out of the U.S, according to multiple outlets.

Protesters gathered by the thousands at airports across the country Saturday demanding that detained travelers be released.

The ACLU stepped in, representing detained travelers, and sued the federal government, which led to the release of apparently all of the detained travelers, according to several news outlets.

The order will still prevent future travelers and refugees from entering the country.

The order was signed before any Department of Homeland Security staff could review the details of the text, according to a CNN report.

Trump’s actions have been widely criticized by diplomats, Democrats, in the form of massive protests and even by members of his own party.

Seattle saw two days of protests: first on Saturday, Sea-Tac was packed with protesters:

On Sunday thousands poured into Westlake Center condemning the executive order.

The Washington lawsuit

The state is arguing to block major elements of the executive order by arguing it is unconstitutional. The state’s lawsuit, would halt the order completely, according to the AG.

Ferguson’s office issued a press release explaining elements of the lawsuit, which is the first state-led lawsuit against the order.

“…the Executive Order violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals’ constitutional right to Due Process and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act,” according to the release.

At the press conference, Ferguson said his office wanted to move quickly.

“No one is above the law — not even the President,” Ferguson said in the release. “And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It’s the Constitution.”

The AG was backed by Washington-based companies as well. Again, here’s the press release:

“Major Washington state institutions supported the Attorney General’s lawsuit through declarations filed alongside the complaint. In their declarations, Amazon and Expedia set forth the detrimental ways the executive order impacts their operations and their employees.”

Erin Fenner: erin@washingtonstatewire.com, @erinfenner

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