Legal challenges to Donald Trump’s travel ban mount in US

US President Donald Trump

Legal challenges against US President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban mounted on Thursday as Washington state said it would renew its request to block the executive order and a judge granted Oregon’s request to join the case.

The events happened a day after Hawaii launched its own lawsuit, and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said New York state had also asked to join his state’s legal effort.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said the state is joining fellow states in challenging the revised travel ban.

Washington was the first state to sue over the original ban, which resulted in Judge James Robart in Seattle halting its implementation around the country.

Mr Ferguson said the state would ask Judge Robart to rule that his temporary restraining order against the first ban applies to Mr Trump’s revised action.

“My message to President Trump is – not so fast,” Mr Ferguson told reporters.

“After spending more than a month to fix a broken order that he rushed out the door, the President’s new order reinstates several of the same provisions and has the same illegal motivations as the original.”

Judge Robart on Thursday granted Oregon’s request to join Washington and Minnesota in the case opposing the travel ban.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the executive order has hurt Oregon, its residents, employers, agencies, educational institutions, health care system and economy.

Mr Trump’s revised ban bars new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries: Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. It also temporarily shuts down the US refugee program.

Unlike the initial order, the new one says current visa holders will not be affected, and removes language that would give priority to religious minorities.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said that the state could not stay silent on Mr Trump’s travel ban because of Hawaii’s unique culture and history. Hawaii depends heavily on tourism, and the revised ban would hurt the state’s economy, he said.

The courts need to hear “that there’s a state where ethnic diversity is the norm, where people are welcomed with aloha and respect,” Mr Chin said.

He noted that the new travel ban order comes just after the 75th anniversary of the February 19 1942 executive order by President Franklin Roosevelt that sent Japanese Americans to internment camps during the Second World War.

That order was put in place after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Hawaii had an internment camp.

Mr Ferguson said it is not the government but the court that gets to decide whether the revised order is different enough that it would not be covered by previous temporary restraining orders.

“It cannot be a game of whack-a-mole for the court,” he said.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the administration believed the revised travel ban will stand up to legal scrutiny.

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

Mr Ferguson said he was pleased that attorneys general from New York and Oregon had sought to take part in the legal action.

“We have a strong case and they are willing to join our efforts,” he said of his fellow Democrats.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement called the executive order “a Muslim ban by another name”.

Other states that have filed briefs supporting Washington’s initial lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

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