Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

People hold signs at San Francisco International Airport on Sunday  in support of refugees and against President Donald Trump's Muslim ban. (Photo: Kenneth Lu/flickr/cc)

Backlash Continues as Four States Sue to Stop Trump's "Unlawful" #MuslimBan

'In the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It's the Constitution,' says Washington AG Ferguson

Andrea Germanos

Four U.S. states have now sued the Trump administration over its executive order blocking entry for refugees, visitors, and green card holders from majority-Muslim countries—a ban that a group of United Nations human rights experts says breaches "international humanitarian and human rights laws."

Washington state was the first to make the move, announcing its own legal action on Monday. Its complaint argues that the order "violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of Equal Protection and the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, infringes individuals' constitutional right to Due Process, and contravenes the federal Immigration and Nationality Act," a press statement from Attorney General Bob Ferguson states.

Ferguson added at a press conference: "If [the lawsuit is] successful it would have the effect of invalidating the president's unlawful action nationwide."

Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia bolstered the legal effort on Tuesday, each joining separate, pending lawsuits.

"The President's executive order is a threat to our Constitution," declared Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. "Rather than protecting our national security, it stigmatizes those who would lawfully emigrate to our state. With this policy, our global universities, hospitals, businesses and start-ups, and far too many students and residents have been put at risk. On behalf of the Commonwealth, my office is challenging the immigration ban to hold this administration accountable for its un-American, discriminatory, and reckless decision-making."

"No one is above the law—not even the President," said AG Ferguson. "And in the courtroom, it is not the loudest voice that prevails. It's the Constitution."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared his backing of his state's suit, saying at a press conference Monday: "Until Congress takes this administration to task for the obvious moral and legal injuries suffered by innocent, law-abiding people entering our country, it is up to states to protect and promote the rights of the people who reside in our borders."

Reuters notes that

[m]ultiple foreign nationals have also filed lawsuits challenging the ban. They included one filed in Colorado on Tuesday by a Libyan college student and two filed in Chicago, including one on behalf of an Iranian father of three children all living in Illinois.

The new lawsuits came the same day as United Nations chief Antonio Guterres warned that countries' border management "cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality" as that runs counter to "fundamental principles," is likely ineffective, and "triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organizations we all want to fight against."

Though Guterres' statement doesn't name Trump specifically, a statement released Wednesday by a group of UN experts does, and also warns that his order could subject those barred from entry to torture.

"Such an order is clearly discriminatory based on one's nationality and leads to increased stigmatization of Muslim communities," said the UN Special Rapporteurs on migrants, François Crépeau; on racism, Mutuma Ruteere; on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson; on torture, Nils Melzer; and on freedom of religion, Ahmed Shaheed.

"The U.S. recent policy on immigration also risks people being returned, without proper individual assessments and asylum procedures, to places in which they risk being subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws which uphold the principle of non-refoulement," they warned.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·

Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Poll Shows Majority in US Want Diplomacy, Not War With Russia Over Ukraine

The survey's findings echo the pleas of progressive lawmakers, who assert "there is no military solution" to the crisis involving the world's two foremost nuclear powers.

Brett Wilkins ·

'Abortion Bans Kill People': Death of Woman Unleashes Protests in Poland

"The politicized tribunal has caused hell for women in Poland that must end as soon as possible—before another one of us dies."

Jessica Corbett ·

Clyburn Asks: Who Would Oppose Means-Testing Child Tax Credit? Answer: Lots of People

"There is literally not a single thing that the means-tested approach is better at than the universal approach," said one policy expert.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo