Massachusetts and Washington have started legal proceedings to overturn the Trump travel ban against refugees and nationals from certain African and Middle Eastern countries.
Since the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, Democrats state attorneys general have moved quickly to defend a range of issues including immigration. Health and environmental protections are also high on the list.
Eric Schneiderman, New York Attorney General, has started to provide model legislation to New York’s local government to show them how to become sanctuary cities and refuse to comply with authorities on immigration.
Under the Barak Obama administration, several Republican attorneys general routinely filed lawsuits against the former president’s policies.
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Attorneys General can Act Independently
Civil liberties and human rights groups have also filed legislation on behalf of individuals affected by the travel ban. Attorneys general, however, has more power as they can bring legal proceedings on a statewide level. As they are mostly elected, they can act independently of state legislators and governors.
Washington Attorney General Bob Fergurson said, “It’s my responsibility as attorney general to defend the rule of law, to uphold the Constitution on behalf of the people of this state. And that’s what we’re doing.” His lawsuit is trying to get key parts of the executive order thrown out.
Maura Healey, Massachusetts Attorney General said she is joining the American Civil Liberties Union which has already filled in Boston to overturn the executive order.
Seventeen Democratic attorneys general signed a letter vowing to fight the travel ban, citing it was unconstitutional. Most who signed were from states Hillary Clinton won, but Iowa and Pennsylvania attorneys general signed as well. They voted for Trump.
Some attorneys general have filed legal proceedings on their own.
The outcry is driven by Trump’s executive orders last weekend which has been described as a ban that targets Muslims.