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Karl A. Racine
Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

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AG Racine & Counterparts from 13 States File Brief in Support of Hawaii’s Lawsuit against Revised Immigration Ban

Rob Marus, Communications Director: (202) 724-5646; [email protected]
Marrisa Geller, Public Affairs Specialist: (202) 724-5448; [email protected]

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Racine joined 13 other attorneys general in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the State of Hawaii’s lawsuit against President Trump’s revised executive order, issued on March 6, 2017. The attorneys general argue the revised travel ban retains unconstitutional components of the original order, including a broad ban on entry to the country by nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries and a complete suspension of the United States’ refugee program.

“Despite revisions, President Trump’s new travel ban still does not pass constitutional muster. The ban violates core principles of the Constitution and federal law, which is why I am joining my colleagues in opposing its implementation,” said Attorney General Racine. “State attorneys general are an important check and balance against policies that do not comport with the Constitution, and I will continue to stand up for District residents, the rule of law, and our most fundamental American values.”

In the brief filed today, the attorneys general argue the executive order has caused serious harm to individuals who live, work, and study in their states, as well as their families, communities, and the institutions and businesses that employ and educate them.

In part, the brief states:

“Although the revised Order is narrower in some respects than the initial Order, it retains the two essential pillars of that Order: a sweeping ban on entry to the United States by nationals of several predominantly Muslim countries and a complete suspension of the refugee program. If allowed to go into effect, the revised Order will immediately harm the amici States’ proprietary, quasi-sovereign, and sovereign interests. It will inhibit the free exchange of information, ideas, and talent between the six designated countries and the States, including at the States’ many educational institutions; harm the States’ life sciences, technology, health care, finance, and tourism industries, as well as innumerable other small and large businesses throughout the States; inflict economic damage on the States themselves through both increased costs and immediately diminished tax revenues; and hinder the States from effectuating the policies of religious tolerance and nondiscrimination enshrined in our laws and state constitutions.”

The amicus brief highlights that the initial executive order has already caused concrete, irreparable harms to the District’s and states’ residents, institutions and businesses, and the revised version will continue to harm the jurisdictions. Specifically, the brief argues that the order:

  • Has harmed state colleges and universities, creating staffing gaps, precluding students’ attendance, and imposing additional costs and administrative burdens;
  • Has disrupted staffing and research at state medical institutions;
  • And has immediately reduced tax revenues and is broadly harming the District’s and states’ economies.

Attorneys general have been at the forefront of the opposition to the executive action on immigration. Attorney General Racine and fellow attorneys general condemned President Trump’s initial executive order as unconstitutional, unlawful and un-American. The District has also joined amicus briefs in support of legal challenges to that order brought by Washington state and Virginia.

The office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan took the lead in drafting the amicus brief in the Hawaii v. Trump case. In addition to her and Attorney General Racine, attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia joined the brief.

The full amicus brief is available here.