Jim Brunner, Seattle Times, January 30, 2017
State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to invalidate key provisions of President Trump’s executive order temporarily barring all refugees and immigration by citizens of seven majority- Muslim countries.
The lawsuit — the first challenge of Trump’s order to be brought by a state — is backed by declarations from Seattle-based Amazon.com and Bellevue-based Expedia, testifying to negative impacts of Trump’s order on their businesses and employees.
“We are a country based on the rule of law. In a courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It’s the Constitution,” Ferguson, a Democrat, said at a news conference in Seattle.
He said his legal team worked through the weekend to prepare the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court against Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and top administration officials.
The lawsuit says Trump’s executive order violates constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and equal protection.
The attorney general was joined by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who blasted Trump’s refugee ban aimed at several war-torn, Muslim- majority nations — and giving precedence to Christians — as “un-American.”
“The fact is that its impact, its cruelty, its clear purpose is an unconscionable religious test,” Inslee said, pointing to the executive order’s provision prioritizing the admittance of Christian refugees.
Ferguson’s 14-page complaint quotes some of Trump’s own 2016 campaign statements, including his initial pledge of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Such statements are evidence, the lawsuit says, that Trump’s executive order was motivated “by animus and a desire to harm a particular group.”
The lawsuit notes there are 7,279 noncitizen immigrants in Washington state who are from the seven countries targeted by the executive order.
Signed on Friday, Trump’s order sparked a wave of protests in Western Washington and across the country over the weekend, with huge crowds pouring into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport amid reports that refugees and immigrants from countries targeted by the travel ban were being detained there.
Two men — citizens of Yemen and Sudan — were released Sunday morning after being detained at the airport by agents from Customs and Border Protection.