(CN) – Washington state filed an amended complaint Monday morning in an effort to halt the implementation of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban – one of several cases across the nation attacking the constitutionality of the executive order.
Several other states also joined the Evergreen State’s claims that Trump’s second executive order has the same constitutional issues as the first because it represents an attempt to single out and discriminate against Muslims.
“Both the first executive order and the second executive order were motivated by animus and a desire to harm a particular group,” Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson wrote in the complaint.
Ferguson’s main legal argument is that the revised ban is not materially different from the first and is motivated by the same religious discrimination, made apparent by several statements by Trump and his advisers throughout the campaign that called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
The attorney general also cited the statements of Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s senior advisers, who said on Feb. 21 that the difference between the two executive orders was “mostly minor technical differences.”
The first travel ban, signed on Jan. 27, placed a temporary ban on travelers entering the United States from seven predominately Muslim nations – Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Syria. Residents from Syria were banned indefinitely, while the rest were banned for 90 days.
Trump’s revised executive order exempts green card holders and permanent legal residents of the United States, removes Iraq from the list and changes the timeframe of the ban for Syria to 120 days.
Ferguson attempted to convince U.S. District Judge James Robart to simply extend his stay of the first travel ban to the second, but Robart ruled late Friday night that plaintiffs needed to file an amended complaint to convince him that the same constitutional issues remain.
Robart initially put a stay on the first travel ban, which was immediately appealed to the Ninth Circuit. A three-judge panel there affirmed Robart’s stay.
One of the issues discussed at the Ninth Circuit was standing, and whether Washington state suffered harm as a result of the ban. The panel eventually ruled the state did have standing, citing the damage to its universities as a result of hampering the free travel of many of its professors and students who travel between the United States and the targeted nations.
Ferguson reiterated this theme Monday, saying the revised ban “will cause severe and immediate harms to the states, including our residents, our colleges and universities, our healthcare providers, and our businesses.”
The updated travel ban will also “will prevent state residents – including United States citizens – from seeing their spouses, parents, or other family members” and “cause the states themselves to lose tax revenue,” Ferguson says.
Washington is joined in the lawsuit by New York, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, Minnesota and Maryland.
“As our complaint details, President Trump’s second executive order is just a Muslim Ban by another name, seeking to accomplish the same unlawful and unconstitutional goals of the first ban,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Ferguson and the other plaintiffs have asked Robart to schedule an emergency hearing for Wednesday, March 14 – two days before the slated implementation of the second travel ban – to decide whether to apply the stay to the updated executive order.
Robart issued an order Monday calling on the Justice Department to submit an opposition brief by March 14, at which time he will decide whether to schedule a hearing.
Meanwhile, Hawaii has a hearing on its lawsuit over the revised ban scheduled for March 15.
Hawaii became the first state to sue the Trump administration over the second executive order, on similar claims that the ban flouts the constitution’s prohibitions on religious discrimination.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson is presiding over the Aloha State’s case.
In Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a temporary restraining order regarding a Syrian family affected by the travel ban, but the case is unlikely to have an effect on the broader implications of the ban.
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