SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state’s attorney general said on Jan. 30 that he is suing President Donald Trump over his executive order that suspended immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations and sparked nationwide protests.
The move makes Washington the first state to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.
“If successful it would have the effect of invalidating the president’s unlawful action nationwide,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said at a news conference.
Trump signed the executive order on Jan. 27 suspending immigration for citizens of the seven countries for 90 days. The president and his supporters say the executive order is necessary for national security.
Ferguson was one of 16 state attorneys general who released a statement on Jan. 28 calling Trump’s immigration action “un-American and unlawful.”
Trump’s order sparked large protests around the country over the weekend, including one that drew 3,000 people to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Trump has repeatedly said the move is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and American interests.
Ferguson said the lawsuit against Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump administration officials would be filed on Jan. 30 in federal court in Seattle.
The complaint seeks to have key provisions of the executive order declared unconstitutional, Ferguson said. The state is also asking for a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the order.
“We are a country based on the rule of law and in a courtroom it is not the loudest voice that prevails, it’s the Constitution,” Ferguson said. “Either you’re abiding by the Constitution or you are not. And in our view, the president is not adhering to the Constitution when it comes to this executive action.”
Declarations of support from Amazon and Expedia — two Washington state-based businesses — will be included in the declarations, said Ferguson, who was joined at the news conference by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The complaint claims that Trump’s actions are separating Washington families, harming thousands of state residents, damaging the state economy, hurting Washington-based companies “and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees,” Ferguson said.
Inslee said the “inhumanity” of Trump’s order is obvious.
“This is un-American, it is wrong, and it will not stand,” Inslee said. “The clear intent of this executive order is to discriminate against one faith amongst all God’s children.”
Asked if he fears retaliation from the Trump administration, Inslee said “there’s no predicting this president, but we will not yield, we will not be leveraged, we will not be threatened, we will not be intimidated.”
Inslee said he learned the hard way over the years “you do not back down to bullies.”
Ferguson said he has been in contact with other attorneys general but at this point Washington state was acting on its own regarding the legal action.
The Port of Seattle said over the weekend that people who were detained at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as a result of Trump’s order have been released.
U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said on Jan. 29 that two individuals were released. One is a citizen of Sudan and the other a citizen of Yemen, both countries named in Trump’s order.
After Trump signed the executive order, Rich Stolz of Seattle-based OneAmerica issued a reminder that the United States was built on religious freedom and equality.
“We stand with our refugee brothers and sisters throughout Washington state, those who are seeking protection, and those who are here and desperately waiting to be reunited with their family members overseas,” Stolz, who leads the social justice and immigrant rights organization, said in a statement.
“Refugees are our coworkers, neighbors, friends, business owners, community leaders and family members.”
In Washington state, large number of refugees are from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Ukraine and Burma (Myanmar), according to OneAmerica, which said families from those countries are often fleeing oppression and violence.
Martha Bellisle of The Associated Press wrote this report. Equal Voice News contributed to it. About the top image: Demonstrators sit down in the concourse and hold a sign that reads “We are America,” as more than 1,000 people gathered on Jan. 28 at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to protest President Donald Trump’s order that restricts immigration to the U.S. seattlepi.com photo by Genna Martin via AP