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16 US Attorney Generals challenge Trump's immigration ban

By Lalit K Jha
February 07, 2017 09:38 IST
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As many as 16 US Attorney Generals have joined the bandwagon opposing President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban on citizens from seven nations, saying the “discriminatory” order is “unconstitutional and un-American”.

IMAGE: Activists participate in a protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies in front of the Department of Homeland Security New York headquarters. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Executive Order signed by Trump banning countries that include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen has been halted by a federal court in Seattle.

The Trump Administration has challenged this stay order before the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, before whom Attorney Generals from as many as 16 states have filed amici curiae brief against the Executive Order.

“This filing is about keeping our communities safe, protecting our economy, and upholding the rule of law. Pennsylvania was founded on the promise of liberty and we’re proud to help lead this effort in support of Washington State’s lawsuit,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

“No president or administration is more powerful than our laws and our Constitution. As state AGs, it is our job to hold this administration accountable and stand for the interests of our states and our residents. We are united in this effort,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the ban is unconstitutional, unlawful and fundamentally un-American.

“We won’t stand by while it undermines our states’ families, economies, and institutions,” he said.

“From filing our own federal lawsuit last week, to partnering with fellow attorneys general on this amicus brief today, we will use every tool at our disposal to fight President Trump’s discriminatory order and help ensure the rule of law prevails,” he added.

The administration’s reckless dismissal of the Constitution threatens to rip apart California families, risks their economic well-being and defies centuries of our American tradition alleged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

This filing is about keeping our communities safe, protecting our economy, and upholding the rule of law

“Immigrants are the life-blood of our nation who work hard to build our country, especially in California. Our universities, medical institutions, businesses, and our tax base are all harmed by President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional and un-American order,” he said.

The amicus brief calls to uphold the federal district court’s ruling and deny the federal government’s emergency motion for stay, as it would return the country to the confusion and chaos created by the executive order in its implementation last weekend.

In its court papers, the attorney generals said that the Executive Order has inflicted and continues to inflict harm on state colleges and universities across the country, including in the amici states, which rely on faculty and students from across the world.

“First, the Executive Order has disrupted our state educational institutions’ ability to meet their staffing needs. The Order is already preventing and dissuading scholars from coming to our institutions -- including scholars who had already committed to filling positions,” it said.

The country was built by immigrants and refugees who came here in search of a better life, said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

“Illinois is home to nearly 2 million immigrants who contribute to our state in invaluable ways. I will fight to ensure Illinois remains a safe and welcome home for immigrants and refugees,” she said.

The amicus brief alleges that the order undermines the states’ abilities to enforce their own anti-discrimination laws, ensure the benefits of existing federal laws and regulations -- such as the Immigration and National Act -- are not denied to individuals arriving in these states, and protect residents, businesses and communities.

“As the states have made clear in other filings, the executive order represents an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment -- and this ‘erosion of religious liberties cannot be deterred by awarding damages to the victims of such erosion’,” it said. 

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