For Immediate Release - March 13, 2017

AG Healey Files Lawsuit Challenging President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

BOSTON – Today, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that she has formally joined Washington’s lawsuit against President Trump’s travel ban.

The amended complaint, filed today in the U. S. District Court in the Western District of Washington and led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, was also joined by the attorneys general of California, Maryland, New York, and Oregon. The filing also included 50 declarations from a variety of institutions and businesses affected by the entry ban, including from the University of Massachusetts.

“This lawsuit is a united effort by states across the country to make clear that President Trump’s discriminatory policies are unlawful and counter to American values,” AG Healey said. “Students, global universities, and businesses in Massachusetts face the same risks under this revised travel ban. Our office remains committed to fighting discrimination and upholding the rule of law against the President’s attempt to fulfill an unconstitutional campaign promise.”

The AG’s Office – which voluntarily dismissed its case in U.S. District Court last week against the original travel ban – joined this litigation on behalf of Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts has a significant interest in treating its residents equally, as required by its constitution and laws, and… also has a sovereign interest in protecting the health, safety, and well-being of all its residents, including against the special harms caused by discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin” the complaint reads.

As described in the complaint, Massachusetts supports an extensive system of 29 public colleges and universities, including the University of Massachusetts. The 90-day entry ban under the second Executive Order coincides with the peak period of the hiring season, during which the University is interviewing top candidates and extending offers to faculty for the 2017-2018 year – meaning that the University may be unable to hire top-ranked potential faculty, lecturers, or visiting scholars from the affected countries.  It also coincides with the admissions season for prospective students, who may now be unable to obtain visas to attend the University.

The Executive Order also jeopardizes the continued enrollment of current students, who may face unprecedented delays in the renewal of visas, or may also be effectively precluded from traveling outside the United States, because the entry ban threatens their ability to return.

Massachusetts is home to more than one million immigrants, hosts tens of thousands of international students, and welcomes approximately two thousand refugees each year. Massachusetts is also home to hundreds, if not thousands, of small businesses, large corporations, non-profit organizations, public and private hospitals, and colleges and universities that will be affected by the Executive Order. These institutions employ and enroll individuals from the affected countries and rely on their expertise, skill, labor, and other contributions to the state’s civic society and economy. 

Today’s court filings in Washington also included an emergency motion by AG Ferguson to enforce the existing nationwide preliminary injunction – upheld last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – and apply it to the revised entry ban.

This matter is being handled for Massachusetts by State Solicitor Bessie Dewar, Genevieve Nadeau, Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division, and Jonathan Miller, Chief of AG Healey’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, with assistance from Assistant Attorneys General Jesse Boodoo, Samantha Shusterman, Shaneka Davis, and paralegal Gabrielle Crossnoe.

The amended complaint is available here.

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