Washington state sues Trump over immigration order

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson plans to file a lawsuit in federal court against President Donald Trump over an executive order that bars refugees and limits immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations.

Key developments: 

  • The lawsuit will be filed in federal court in Seattle against President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump Administration officials.
  • It wants federal court to declare the travel ban order unconstitutional
  • The lawsuit announcement comes after a weekend of protests in Seattle, Sea-Tac, and nationwide.
  • On Friday, the president signed an order barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days..
  • Trump has repeatedly said that the move is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and American interests.
  • Ferguson was one of 16 state attorneys general who released a statement Sunday calling Trump's immigration action "un-American and unlawful

What to know about Washington state's lawsuit

Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced his lawsuit Monday, becoming the first state attorney general to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.

Ferguson’s complaint asks the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington to declare key provisions of the executive order unconstitutional and illegal.

“What this lawsuit is about is the fact that it's unconstitutional. You can't do that. It violates the rule of law and I will not put up with it. I won't,” said Ferguson.

He also filed a motion for temporary restraining order seeking an immediate halt to the executive order’s implementation.

>> Trump's immigration ban: What to know

The complaint says that the president’s actions are “separating Washington families, harming thousands of Washington residents, damaging Washington’s economy, hurting Washington-based companies, and undermining Washington’s sovereign interest in remaining a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.”

“I will not stand silent while a president damages our economy because it restricts the ability of Washingtonians to do their work. Selling our software, selling our products,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.

Ferguson asked the court to schedule a hearing within 14 days.

Major Washington state institutions supported the lawsuit through declarations filed alongside the complaint. In their declarations, Amazon and Expedia outlined the negative ways the executive order affects their operations and their employees.

Late Monday afternoon, acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates says the Justice Department, under her watch, will not defend refugee executive order in court.

This gives a boost to our state's lawsuit.

President's Trump's attorney general nominee, Jeff Sessions, is likely to be confirmed soon, meaning the actions of the Justice Department may change. Read about Yates' statement here. 

“At the end of the day, either you are abiding by the constitution or you are not. And in our view the president is not adhering to the constitution,” said Ferguson.

When asked if President Trump might retaliate against Washington state, Inslee responded, “Listen I learned this a long time ago on the hardscrabble, rock strewn, bottle broken fields of White Center Washington that you do not back down to bullies and we will not be bullied on this, we are going to continue protecting our civil liberties.”

What is the “immigration ban?”

Any non-U.S. citizen from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen is now barred from entering the United States.

Legal permanent residents -- green card and visa-holders -- from those seven countries who were out of the United States after Friday cannot return to the U.S. for 90 days.

The order also singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, indefinitely blocking entry for anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war.

The order also directed U.S. officials to review information as needed to fully vet foreigners asking to come to the U.S. and draft a list of countries that don't provide that information. That left open the possibility that citizens of other countries could also face a travel ban.

The immediate fallout from Trump's order meant that an untold number of foreign-born U.S. residents now traveling outside the U.S. could be stuck overseas for at least 90 days — despite holding permanent residency "green cards" or other visas.

Read a full Q&A on the EO here.

Individuals detained at Sea-Tac Airport 

Travelers across the nation were detained at airports. Critics described widespread confusion with travelers being held in legal limbo because of ill-defined procedures.

On Saturday, individuals were detained at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as a result of President Trump's executive order. They were released by the Department of Homeland Security, a Port of Seattle spokeswoman said Sunday.

About 3,000 protesters holding signs and chanting "no hatred, no fear, immigrants are welcome here" and "let them in" gathered Saturday evening and continued demonstrating into early Sunday morning at Sea-Tac airport.

The crowd dispersed shortly after midnight, but about 30 to 35 were arrested during the demonstration and face various misdemeanor charges. She said there were no injuries or damage to the facilities.

All but one person was cited and released for disorderly conduct. That one person was arrested for assault, according to officials.

Large protest gathers at Westlake, across nation 

Trump’s order ignited nationwide protests throughout the weekend.

PHOTOS: Massive protests in Seattle

In addition to the Sea-Tac protest, thousands of people are attending an “emergency rally” Sunday night at Westlake Park in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Gov. Inslee and Mayor Ed Murray were among the speakers at the large rally.

Murray urged protesters in the city to stand in their doorways at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, holding a phone or a candle to "shine a light."

>> Related: Mayor: Seattle could lose $85 million by remaining a sanctuary city

"We as a city will stand with immigrants and refugees," said Murray, who has vowed to maintain Seattle's status as a sanctuary city for immigrants despite a Trump threat to withhold federal funds.

Protesters marched through downtown streets after the rally.

ACLU filed first lawsuit challenging EO

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the first lawsuit challenging the executive order.

"We're arguing that the executive order is unconstitutional. And that it's unlawful. The merits of that will be fully broached in coming weeks,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero.

Four federal judges have put various holds on the ban, and other courts are expected to consider similar stays.

Supporters of the ban

The top Senate Republican, majority leader Mitch McConnell, avoided directly criticizing the president and said the courts would have to decide the legality of the president’s actions.

President Trump's advisor Stephen Miller defended the ban.

On CBS this morning, he said all seven countries named were identified by then-President Obama's administration as "countries of concern," but the administration did nothing to protect our borders.

"They left our borders fairly open and there were unfortunate deaths because of that, including sanctuary cities and non-enforcement of removal orders," said Miller.

House Speaker Paul Ryan also agreed with President Trump's ban.

Trump responds to criticism on immigration ban

"President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country," said Ryan.

The president responded to criticism Monday on Twitter, saying only 109 people were detained and questioned.