Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson / REUTERS

States Join Lawsuit to Block Muslim Ban

Several states have joined a Washington lawsuit to prevent President Donald Trump’s updated Muslim ban from going into effect, arguing that it is still as discriminatory as the original.

California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have all signed on as plaintiffs in the newest filing.

“Like the First Executive Order, the Second Executive Order will cause severe and immediate harms to the States, including our residents, our colleges and universities, our healthcare providers, and our businesses,” the filing reads, adding, “The Second Executive Order will also cause the States themselves to lose tax revenue and will undermine our sovereign interest in maintaining the separation between church and state, in upholding our non-discrimination policies, and in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

The countries impacted by Trump’s original order were Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Iraq is not included in the new order. The new order also no longer permanently bans Syrian refugees, but it still includes a 120-day suspension for refugees. It does not contain language that would have given Christian refugees priority. Additionally, the order states that no more than 50,000 refugees will be granted entry to the United States in fiscal year 2017. The newest executive order is scheduled to go into effect on March 16.

In the filing the states point to the negative impact the ban will have on their economies. In Washington, businesses owned by immigrants and refugees employ about 140,000 people. California notes that about 27 percent of its population is foreign-born, and this population “contributes significantly to the State’s economy and workforce.” And Maryland’s immigrant population, which the filing calls “vital to Maryland’s economy and very identity,” has not only seen significant growth in recent years but also “contributes disproportionately to its economy.”

“According to the Census Bureau, in 2013 the 14.5% of Maryland’s population that was foreign-born provided 18.2% of Maryland’s total workforce,” the statement reads.

The plaintiffs also point to the effects the ban will have on tourism and the revenue it generates:

“The Second Executive Order already is chilling foreign nationals from visiting New York State, and could cost the State and its residents hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. For the first time in seven years, New York City officials are expecting a drop in the number of foreign visitors. New York City now expects to draw 300,000 fewer foreigners this year than in 2016, a decline that will cost New York City businesses at least $600 million in sales.”

Travel alone generates significant revenue, as demonstrated in Oregon’s case:

“Portland International Airport, located in Portland, Oregon, served over 670,000 international travelers in 2016. It has been estimated that international travelers from just one major airline contribute over $172 million in business revenue to Oregon. The Second Executive Order will cause significant economic injury to Oregon by interfering with international travel and deterring international travelers from coming to Oregon.”

The Justice Department is reviewing the complaint before responding, a spokesperson reported to Reuters.

“No one is above the law, not even the President and I will hold him accountable to the Constitution,” said Bob Ferguson, attorney general for Washington, in a press release. “Cutting some illegal aspects of President Trump’s original Muslim ban does not cure his affront to our Constitution.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the newest Muslim ban “is still an attack on people.”

“The Trump Administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim Muslim ban, but they didn’t change its unconstitutional intent and effect,” Becerra said.

Similarly, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the second executive order “just a Muslim Ban by another name.”

“The Trump administration’s continued intent to discriminate against Muslims is clear and it undermines New York’s families, institutions, and economy,” he said.

U.S. District Judge James Robart, the Seattle judge who ordered to block the first Muslim ban, said a hearing would take place no earlier than Wednesday.

Washington and Minnesota successfully filed to block the original executive order from going into effect. In a separate filing on Monday the states asked the court to apply the same injunction to the newest order, stating that “injunctions operate against actions and policies, not against numbers on a page; a defendant cannot evade the force of an injunction by renumbering the policy enjoined.”

“The key question is whether some of the enjoined policies or conduct continue, and here they plainly do,” the text notes.

Separately, Hawaii filed a suit challenging the ban, citing the negative impact it has placed on tourism for the state. The federal government reportedly responded that Hawaii’s claims are based on “pure speculation,” according to the Associated Press. The AP further reported that while no other states have signed on to Hawaii’s suit, Illinois, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia collectively filed an amicus in support of the state’s suit. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Notably, two recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports found evidence that undermine the logic behind the Muslim ban. According to thedraft of one, obtained by the AP, “citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”

Between March 2011 and the present, the text reports on “at least 82 primarily US-based individuals, who died in the pursuit of or were convicted of any terrorism-related federal offense inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.” Of those 82 people, a little more than half were born in the United States.

“Of the foreign-born individuals, they came from 26 different countries, with no one country representing more than 13.5 percent of the foreign-born total,” according to the text.

A separate DHS intelligence report, exclusively obtained byThe Rachel Maddow Show, found that “most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”

On average, the DHS found, people radicalize 13 years after they enter the country.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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