WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine today joined 16 state attorneys general in filing of a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s executive order on immigration. This follows an amicus brief filed earlier this week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, supporting a lawsuit led by Washington state and Minnesota against the executive order. The order would impose a temporary ban on any entry into the United States by refugees, visitors or temporary residents from seven nations with majority-Muslim populations.
The brief is led by the attorneys general from New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and also signed by the attorneys general from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The brief is attached and also available here.
In the amici curiae brief filed today in the Virginia suit, the Attorneys General stated: "The excluded individuals include those with valid U.S. visas that enable them to work, study, and travel within the amici States. The Executive Order thus inhibits the free exchange of information, ideas, and talent between the seven designated countries and the amici States, negatively affecting the financial stability and intellectual vitality of educational and research institutions, and disrupting large and small businesses throughout the States."
"We strongly believe this executive order violates both core constitutional principles and federal law, and we are proud to join with our fellow states in opposing its implementation in this case as well as the 9th Circuit case," Attorney General Racine said. "The District of Columbia, like all of our jurisdictions, is a city that has always thrived thanks to the hard work of immigrants and the educational and scientific resources that visitors and temporary residents from nations all over the world bring to our city every day. We will continue to fight for basic American principles of equal protection, religious freedom, and welcoming people from all nations and cultures."
"The Trump Administration’s executive order is not only a policy that is unwise and dangerous, but it is a policy that is inhumane, inappropriate and un-American," said Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. "As Attorneys General, collectively we will use our authority to protect the business community, educational institutions, and our citizens from this unconstitutional order."
Brief Highlights Harm to States
The amicus brief highlights the irreparable harm already caused to the amici states, including disruptions to staffing and intellectual exchange at state-run colleges, universities, and medical institutions; enduring harm to the states’ economies and tax revenues; and the irreparable injury caused by the executive order’s egregious violations of the U.S. Constitution.
In particular, the brief cites the hundreds of employees and thousands of students affected by the order at state educational institutions, as well as disruptions to medical staffing and research. Additionally, the brief highlights the large number of entrepreneurs, developers, and other professionals who are foreign-born, and on which businesses and the states’ economies rely. The order has also caused the amici states to lose both direct and indirect tax revenue; for example, the approximately 1,000 nationals from the designated countries studying in New York on temporary visas have contributed nearly $30.4 million to the State’s economy.
The brief goes on to detail how the executive order violates the Establishment, Due Process, and Equal Protection clauses of the constitution, and how the order’s chaotic implementation has gravely harmed people in the states.
As the brief states, "Without judicial action staying the implementation of the Executive Order across the country, our States will see a return of the chaos experienced in our airports beginning on the weekend of January 28 and 29, and continued serious harms to the individuals who live, work, and study in our States; the institutions that employ and educate such persons; and the communities in which they reside."
The amicus brief calls for the Court to enter a preliminary injunction enjoining the operation of the executive order on a nationwide basis.
Quotes from Other State Attorneys General
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman: "As Attorneys General, our primary job is to protect the people we represent. President Trump’s immigration ban represents an all-out assault on the rights of New Yorkers, on our economy and businesses, and on our educational and healthcare institutions. My fellow Attorneys General and I will continue to do everything in our power to strike down this unconstitutional, discriminatory, and chaotic order, and prevent further harm to the people we serve."
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan: "Choosing who is allowed to come to our country based on their religious beliefs is unconstitutional and discriminatory. As the chief legal officer for one of the most diverse states in the nation, I am committed to protecting all of the residents of Illinois and our educational institutions and employers from the harm caused by this executive action."
Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin: "We will continue to review each lawsuit filed to determine how best we can, individually and collectively, stop the President’s ill-conceived, immoral, and unconstitutional executive order. As a state and a nation, we benefit academically, culturally and economically from the many immigrants that make up our communities. This executive order not only has a chilling effect on those communities but also on our academic institutions and our economy."
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein: "President Trump’s executive order undermines the core American value of religious tolerance, and it makes us less safe. It signals to the world that America sees all Muslims as terrorists, strengthening ISIS’s propaganda and efforts to recruit terrorists. That is why I will join my colleagues in taking action."