Go, Bobby Ferguson, go! Two days after President Trump issued a new, supposedly more legal version of an executive order banning citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and Syrian refugees from entering the US, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced today that his office will soon be filing a motion to block the implementation of the new travel ban.
The motion, to be filed later today, asks Seattle Judge James Robart, the federal judge who issued the temporary restraining order halting Trump's original ban nationwide, to affirm that the injunction for key provisions of the first travel ban still holds.
The Attorney General's Office says that two of the provisions of the new ban—the part that stops citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and Syrian refugees from entering the country—are too similar to the old version to be enforced. Those provisions in the old ban were blocked by court order. Now, the attorney general says, the government must prove the two orders are substantially different.
While Ferguson acknowledged that the new travel ban relieved some of the harms of the original ban by excluding green card and current visa holders, he said that the new ban still contained some of the old ban's constitutional problems.
"The president, or anyone else who is subject to any injunction, cannot simply repackage it in a way and say, 'Now we're clear of that injunction,'" Ferguson said. "That's up to the court to decide whether the new action is sufficiently different to cure the underlying defects that caused the original injunction."
The Attorney General's Office also said that it will be filing an amended complaint in the already-existing travel ban lawsuit on Monday, updating that complaint so that it addresses the new, revised ban. Trump's second ban attempt has removed an explicit mention of religion, but Ferguson said the case will still move forward with a religious discrimination claim.
"This is effectively a Muslim ban," Ferguson said of Trump's new effort. "The fact that it's a smaller group of individuals that have been harmed doesn't change the analysis on whether we can bring this action."
Both New York and Oregon will join Washington's ongoing litigation against the travel ban, the attorney general added. On Wednesday, Hawaii became the first state to sue the Trump administration over the new travel ban. The new ban is set to go into effect a week from now, on March 16.