At least six U.S. states are challenging President Donald Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0 executive order that bars new visas for people from six Muslim countries and temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program.
On March 8, the state of Hawaii filed suit, arguing the new federal order will harm Muslims living in the state. As of March 10, five other states have joined together in a combined challenge to the latest order from Trump.
The West Coast state of Washington, which played a leading role in resisting the Muslim Ban 1.0 order, asked a federal judge in Seattle to affirm that a court order suspending enforcement of Trump's January 27 edict also applies to the new version released by the White House on March 6.
The states of Oregon, Minnesota, and New York have joined Washington State's legal action, and Massachusetts announced Thursday that it, too, will take part when an amended complaint is filed next week.
Bob Ferguson, Washington State's Attorney General, said the states have a solid legal argument. The president's new immigration order is "narrower" than the original version, Ferguson said, but "that does not mean that it's cured its constitutional problems."
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia too have filed briefs supporting Washington's initial lawsuit.
Interestingly, a federal judge in Seattle who issued a nationwide halt to Trump's original travel restrictions denied a motion to have the same ruling apply to the modified measures, saying at least one of the parties must first file additional court papers.
New order to take effect March 16
Trump signed a new executive order on March 6 barring citizens from six countries -- Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen -- from traveling to the United States for three months, and suspended for four months a U.S. refugee-resettlement program.
Foreign travelers who received visas to the United States before January 22, or who already are legal permanent residents of the U.S. are exempted from the new order.
The revised order removed Iraq from the list of countries whose nationals were to be barred from entering the United States, and also clarified the exempt status of "green card" holders -- legal permanent residents.
A federal judge will hold a hearing on Hawaii's lawsuit on Wednesday, March 15, one day before the new ban is to take effect. A federal judge in Maryland, Theodore Chuang, has also scheduled a hearing in the case for March 15.
A religious leader's mother-in-law living in Syria is playing a large part in Hawaii's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban.
Imam Ismail Elshikh of the Muslim Association of Hawaii is a plaintiff in the state's challenge. He says the ban will prevent his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting him.
Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin says people like Elshikh's mother-in-law have fewer rights than U.S. citizens. But Chin says the imam is a U.S. citizen, has rights and would be prevented from seeing his mother-in-law.
The mother-in-law is awaiting approval of a visa to see her relatives in Hawaii. Chin says the woman and others have become victims because of the ban's "standardless set of waivers and exceptions that weren't set by Congress."