President Donald Trump’s immigration restrictions were temporarily shut down by a federal judge who said the states of Washington and Minnesota can sue claiming their economy and residents would be injured by the ban.
The ruling eclipsed a Trump administration win earlier Friday when a federal judge in Boston refused to extend a temporary ruling blocking enforcement at that city’s airport of the ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The ruling by US district Judge James Robart in Seattle is the most comprehensive legal admonishment of Trump’s 27 January executive order prohibiting immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Syria and four other nations from entering the US for 90 days. Judges in Brooklyn, New York, Los Angeles and Alexandria, Virginia, have issued orders that are less sweeping.
“It is not the loudest voice that prevails on the Constitution,” Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson said outside the courthouse. “We are a nation of laws, not even the president can violate the Constitution.”
In his request for the order, Ferguson said the effects on the state included economic consequences for employers based there, including Microsoft Corp., Starbucks Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Expedia Inc., based in Bellevue, Washington, had about 1,000 customers with flight reservations in or out of the US from the seven countries, he said.
Minnesota, like Washington, cited the effect of the ban on students at its colleges and universities, as well as health care centers including the Mayo Clinic. The state’s 5.4 million residents included 30,000 immigrants from the affected countries, it said in the lawsuit.
The court order, effective immediately, will remain in place until the judge considers a motion —probably within a month — to permanently invalidate the president’s order, Ferguson said.
Robart rejected a request by the federal government to put his temporary restraining order on hold. The judge told them he would help expedite an appeal.
US justice department lawyer Michelle Bennett, arguing at Friday’s hearing, said the president was acting within the authority granted him by Congress and there was no financial harm to the states.
Trump’s edict, signed without advance notice, threw airports across America into turmoil as travelers from the affected countries who were already en route to the US learned upon landing that they couldn’t leave the airport. Some of those people were lawful US residents holding green cards and work visas. Some travelers were required to return to their points of origin, generating spontaneous protests at international terminals.
The US has provisionally revoked tens of thousands of visas of people from the seven countries, which also include Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. A provisional revocation means the US has invalidated a visa for use to travel to the US, the state department said. The US may restore the visa’s validity later without requiring a new application.
Trump has argued the order is needed to protect Americans from terrorists. He tweeted on Friday, after referring to an attack by a knife-wielding man at the Louvre museum in Paris, “We must keep evil out of our country!”
Earlier Friday in Virginia, US district judge Leonie Brinkema extended to 10 February a temporary restraining order barring the federal government from enforcing the president’s ban as it might apply to legal permanent US residents. The judge deferred ruling on state Attorney General Mark Herring’s request that she issue an order requiring the Trump administration to account for what the Democrat contends was a failure to immediately obey court orders putting the measure on hold.
Also on Friday, Hawaii’s Doug Chin became the sixth state attorney general to sue or support lawsuits seeking to block Trump’s order.