- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2017

Washington state’s attorney general is asking a federal judge to extend an injunction to prevent portions of the Trump administration’s revised executive order on travel and refugees from taking effect next week.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson will be joined by attorneys general of four other states — Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Oregon — in the effort to prevent President Trump’s new travel ban from taking effect on Thursday.

“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,” said Mr. Ferguson, whose legal action in January blocked implementation of the president’s original order.

Mr. Ferguson asked the federal judge overseeing the case to affirm that the nationwide injunction he issued on Feb. 3 regarding the first executive order will still apply to the revised version.

Mr. Trump signed the new order Monday, under which visitors from six majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — will be banned from obtaining visas to come to the United States for 90 days. Iraq is no longer on the list. The new version still will halt for 120 days all refugee resettlement, though it removed the original’s permanent ban on refugees from Syria and exemptions for religious minorities, namely Christians.

Mr. Trump’s first executive order was in place for just a few days before U.S. District Judge James L. Robart issued an injunction halting its implementation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit later upheld that order.

Mr. Ferguson also intends to file an amended complaint to address the new order early next week. That complaint — which Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and New York will join — will focus on the underlying merits of the case.

“I think it goes to the strength of our case [that] they are wanting to join in our efforts,” Mr. Ferguson said of the additional states joining the suit.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman cheered the effort by attorneys general to work together to fight the order.

“Smart, aggressive litigation by state attorneys general and civil rights advocates across the country successfully torpedoed President Trump’s first Muslim ban, and I am pleased that as state AGs, we are now marshaling our resources to fight Trump’s latest unconstitutional decree,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

The action by Washington’s attorney general came a day after a Hawaii-based federal judge agreed to allow the first legal challenge to the revised executive order to move forward. Hawaii’s attorney general was allowed to amend the state’s prior legal complaint, which had challenged the constitutionality of the first travel ban, so that the lawsuit could challenge the revised version.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the announcement by Washington’s attorney general.

Responding to a question about Hawaii’s lawsuit, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday the administration believes the new order will withstand legal scrutiny.

“We feel very confident with how that was crafted and the input that was given,” Mr. Spicer said.

In its initial lawsuit, Washington state argued that the travel ban unconstitutionally targeted Muslims and would inflict harm on the more than 7,000 noncitizen immigrants from the seven specified countries who live in the state, as well as negatively impact tourism and the businesses and universities that have immigrant employees and students.

Though the new executive order, by narrowing its scope, will impact a smaller number of people, Mr. Ferguson said it does not assuage his concern that the order aims to ban Muslims from entering the country.

“The revised executive order does narrow the scope of who is impacted. But that does not mean it’s cured its constitutional problems,” he said. “The intent behind the executive order targeting those Muslim countries still remains, and that is unconstitutional.”

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