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Washington state, Minnesota seek to block Trump travel ban

SEATTLE (AP) – Officials from Washington state and Minnesota will ask a federal judge Friday for a nationwide restraining order halting portions of President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Lawyers for the government argued that the states don’t have standing to challenge Trump’s executive order and said Congress gave the president the authority to make decisions on national security and admitting immigrants. They urged the judge in a brief filed late Thursday to reject the states’ request.

Trump’s order last week sparked confusion at airports as some travelers were detained and protests nationwide, including about 3,000 demonstrators at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The White House has argued that it will make the country safer.

Washington and Minnesota, which joined the suit Wednesday, want a temporary restraining order while the court considers the lawsuit. The judge will hear arguments Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The states say key sections of Trump’s order are illegal and unconstitutional.

“Washington has a profound interest in protecting its residents from the harms caused by the irrational discrimination embodied in the order,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in a brief filed in U.S. District Court.

The lawsuit says Trump campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims from coming to the U.S. and kept up that rhetoric while defending the travel ban. To support that claim, lawyers pointed to dozens of exhibits of speeches and statements Trump has made.

“The executive order effectively mandates that the states engage in discrimination based on national origin and/or religion, thereby rescinding the states’ historic protection of civil rights and religious freedom,” the complaint said, calling it a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit ultimately seeks to block parts of the executive order that suspend immigration from the seven Muslim-majority countries, put the U.S. refugee admissions program on hold and halt entry of Syrian refugees.

Ferguson said the order is causing significant harm to Washington residents, businesses and its education system. It will reduce tax revenue and impose significant costs on state agencies, as well as make it impossible for some state employees and students to travel, he said.

Washington-based businesses Amazon, Expedia and Microsoft support the state’s efforts to stop the order. They say it’s hurting their operations, too.

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Follow Martha Bellisle https://twitter.com/marthabellisle

Copyright © 2017 The Washington Times, LLC.

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