Massachusetts joins court battle against Trump travel ban

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By Scott Malone

<span class="articleLocation”>Massachusetts on Tuesday joined a legal effort
to block U.S. President Donald Trump’s order banning travel from
seven Muslim-majority countries, which the state’s attorney
general has said is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, said her office
was joining the lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday
challenging the ban and also filing its own lawsuit seeking to
have the ban struck down. Over the weekend, a federal judge in
Boston, home to Logan International Airport, blocked Trump’s
order from being enforced for seven days.

“During his campaign, President Trump called for a ‘complete
shutdown on Muslims entering the U.S.’ On Friday he acted to
make good on that promise,” Healey told reporters at her Boston
office. “Over the past three days my office has closely reviewed
the language of the order and its many impacts … the executive
order is harmful, discriminatory and unconstitutional. It
discriminates on the basis of religion and national origin.”

Massachusetts is following the lead of Washington state,
which said on Monday it would file a lawsuit in federal court
challenging the ban on constitutional grounds.

Trump’s order halted travel by people with passports from
Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days,
and stopped resettlement of refugees for 120 days. In an
interview with a Christian broadcaster over the weekend, Trump
said he would give preference to Syrian Christians seeking
refugee status.

The White House has described the ban as necessary “to
protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign
nationals admitted to the United States.”

Thousands of people took to the streets and airports of
major U.S. cities over the weekend protesting the action, which
has provoked a global backlash including from U.S. allies who
view the ban as discriminatory.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the
free exercise of religion.

On Monday, Trump fired acting U.S. Attorney General Sally
Yates after she took the rare step of defying the White House
and refused to defend the new travel restrictions.

Yates said the Justice Department would not defend the order
against court challenges as she did not believe it would be “consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always
seek justice and stand for what is right.”

She said she was not convinced the order was lawful.

Federal judges in five states blocked U.S. authorities over
the weekend from enforcing Trump’s order.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs of Massachusetts took
the strongest action by barring the detention or removal of
approved refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents
entering from the seven countries for seven days. Her order also
stopped federal officials from expelling from the country two
Iranian men who teach at the University of Massachusetts at
Dartmouth.



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