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1 Feb, 2017 05:09

Lawsuits pile up against Trump travel ban and anti-sanctuary city executive orders

Lawsuits pile up against Trump travel ban and anti-sanctuary city executive orders

Four states are suing over President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting US entry, as is the city of Boston, while other lawsuits were filed in Colorado and Texas. At the same time, San Francisco is challenging the constitutionality of his sanctuary cities order.

On Tuesday, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington all separately challenged the executive order that the Trump administration says will protect the US from “radical Islamic terrorists,” but which the states say is actually a violation of religious freedom, Reuters reported.

The order, signed last Friday, puts a 90-day pause on US entry for those with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, while also halting for 120 days, the resettlement of refugees program and barring any Syrian refugees indefinitely.

New York joined the ACLU’s lawsuit, which was the first against Trump’s order temporarily prohibiting US entry, filed on behalf of Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi; both Iraqis detained at JFK International Airport on Saturday. Virginia joined with the suit brought Monday by the Council on American Islamic Relations on behalf of 27 people.

"It discriminates against people because of their religion, it discriminates against people because of their country of origin," Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday, according to Reuters. The state is supporting a lawsuit initially brought by two Iranians who teach at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, which prompted a federal judge to block any effort to send the men back to Iran and halt enforcement of the executive order for seven days.

Tuesday also saw foreign nationals take individual action, with a Libyan college student filing in Colorado and an Iranian father of three bringing a lawsuit in Chicago. The Iranian is a young doctor whose visa was canceled after he traveled to the United Arab Emirates to get married, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Another of Trump’s controversial executive orders dealt with sanctuary cities, a broadly defined term for cities that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement. In it, Trump threatened to cut funding to such cities, which include Los Angeles and New York. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera called it “not only unconstitutional, it's un-American."

Along with San Francisco, Boston is also suing over the order, which it says runs counter to the separation of state and federal powers as codified in the Tenth Amendment.