California to Fight Trump’s Revised Travel Ban in Court

March 13, 2017 – California will join the list of plaintiffs fighting the Trump administration’s revised travel ban, which includes six majority-Muslim countries, the state’s new attorney general, Xavier Becerra, announced Monday.

“The Trump Administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim travel ban, but they didn’t change its unconstitutional intent and effect. It is still an attack on people – women and children, professors and business colleagues, seniors and civic leaders – based on their religion and national origin,” Becerra said in a statement.

The revised executive order issued last week, after a San Francisco-based federal court suspended the original ban, clarifies that people with valid visas are exempt from the order. It maintains the ban on six countries but removes Iraq from the original list. Under the new order, citizens of Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Iran will face a 90-day suspension of visa processing; the indefinite ban on Syrian immigration was changed to 120 days, a period that could later be extended.

Hawaii was the first state to challenge the revised ban, filing a lawsuit last week in Honolulu. Washington state quickly followed with its own lawsuit, and New York and others — including California — have joined that case.

“There are some things that transcend a presidency,” Becerra wrote. “In America, we will always defend our families, our values, and our Constitution. I am proud to join with my fellow attorneys general in protecting our people from this latest unfounded and unconstitutional overreach.”

Washington’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, has asked U.S. District Court Judge James Robart, who on Feb. 3 granted an injunction against the original ban, to block the revised order as well. Ferguson requested a hearing on Tuesday, the day before the order is set to take effect, but Robart on Monday responded that he would first need to receive a response from the defendant — and that he would not schedule a hearing before Wednesday.

The ACLU of California applauded Becerra’s decision to join the lawsuit.

“We are not a country built on religious litmus tests,” said Natasha Minsker, Director, ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy & Policy. “Religious freedom and equality are fundamental American values. Those principles are enshrined in the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws, and they help define what’s best about our country.”

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said Monday that the department was reviewing the complaint and that it would respond in court.

By Katy Murphy, The Mercury News
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