Lawyers for the Department of Justice and Washington state may be back in front of the federal judge who issued an injunction on President Donald Trump’s original travel ban as early as Tuesday.
The Washington Attorney General’s office is asking Judge James Robart for a hearing to determine whether the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that blocked Trump’s initial executive order on immigration applies to the revised one he issued last week.
The initial order temporarily barred immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., paused the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and suspended Syrian refugee immigration indefinitely. That order was immediately challenged by a lawsuit from Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, prompting Trump to draft a new order rather than battle it out in court.
It may not be that simple, however. Ferguson’s office says the TRO still applies to Trump’s new executive order because many of the enjoined provisions remain intact.
The new order includes exemptions for visa and green card holders. Trump also removed Iraq from the list of countries and took out the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugees and a section that related to exemptions for Christian immigrants.
Despite those changes, Washington argues TRO is still in effect. Here’s how Ferguson’s team sees it, via court filings:
While the Second Executive Order now excludes Iraqis, lawful permanent residents, and visa-holders from its travel ban, it bars entry for virtually all other individuals from the listed countries, including: relatives of U.S. citizens; students who have been admitted to state universities but not yet received visas; prospective employees of state universities or private businesses who have been offered positions but not yet obtained visas; and students and employees who may need to renew their visas. All of these individuals (and the institutions that wish to admit or hire them) are protected by this Court’s injunction, but are nonetheless targeted and harmed by the Second Executive Order.
Harm suffered by public institutions, like universities, is the lynchpin of Washington state’s challenge of the immigration orders. The AG also claims the orders negatively impact the operations, recruiting, and reputations of businesses in Washington. The state’s tech community has thrown its weight behind that claim, issuing amicus briefs and declarations of support for Ferguson’s case.
The Trump administration says the temporary ban on travel is necessary to study — and eventually strengthen — federal immigration practices. Implementation of the second executive order is scheduled to begin Thursday, depending on whether a hearing is granted and what happens on Tuesday.