Washington state AG seeks Tuesday hearing in travel ban challenge

"Regardless of the administration's efforts to clean up the language in this latest version of the President's travel ban, it continues to unlawfully discriminate against people due to their religion, nationality or country of birth", said Matt Adams, legal director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said earlier this week that the revised travel ban has "the same illegal motivations as the original". U.S. District Judge William Conley, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a temporary restraining order to the ban that is applicable only to the family of a Syrian refugee previously granted asylum.

The foreign policy experts argue that the new executive order, scheduled to go into effect March 16, plays into the hands of ISIS and other extremists by boosting their message to disaffected Muslims worldwide.

The revised executive order will ban travelers from six countries. Robart's restraining order had prevented Trump from implementing similar tenets of his old order, including suspension of the refugee program and banning entry for individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"Insisting on the same principles will make the United States slip into chaos and compel the system to put Trump aside", he said.

A group of U.S. states run by Democrats on Monday stepped up the pressure in federal court for the suspension of Republican President Donald Trump´s amended travel ban, if possible before it takes effect Thursday.

One day after Trump signed the new executive order, Hawaii mounted the first legal challenge last Tuesday. Judge Conley ruled that the family had presented a strong case that they would be able to enter the USA and placed a temporary restraining order on the Trump directive on travel from applying to them until a future hearing. The lawsuit said the initial travel ban was unconstitutional and hurt the state's businesses and universities. That lawsuit, though, was superseded by events when a federal judge in Washington state blocked the travel ban altogether.

He accused the government of trying to skirt around the court´s first ruling, which suspended the Trump administration´s initial travel order.

But the Justice Department and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have not wavered. Experts say those changes removed the most legally problematic parts of the original ban. "To Muslims - including those victimised by or fighting against ISIS - it will send a message that reinforces the propaganda of ISIS and other extremist groups, that falsely claim the United States is at war with Islam", it states.

Washington is joined by four other states, Minnesota, New York and OR, and California, in its legal challenge.

This week, as the second act of Trump's immigration strategy plays out, his lawyers' revised travel plan is receiving fire from attorneys general in a growing list of states.

Washington and Minnesota followed in Hawaii's footsteps last week, announcing that they, too, planned ask a federal judge in Seattle to halt the new travel ban.

  • Aubrey Nash