PROVIDENCE, RI — “When the President fails to adhere to constitutional norms, it is the job of the state attorneys general to rise up and defend our Constitution. And we continue to do just that,” said RI Attorney General Peter Kilmartin in joining 15 attorneys general opposing the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration Thursday.
Kilmartin and the the other attorneys general signed an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on immigration in the Eastern District of New York, which the State of New York has joined. The move followed amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit supporting the Washington State lawsuit against the executive order and in the Eastern District of Virginia in support of Virginia’s lawsuit.
In the brief filed Thursday, the attorneys general state: “The barred individuals include, among others, persons who have previously been granted valid U.S. visas that otherwise entitle them to work, study, and travel within the amici States. In addition to harming such individuals, the Executive Order also inhibits the free exchange of information, ideas, and talent between the seven designated countries and the amici States.”
“As we move ahead, we will remain vigilant to safeguard our constitutional rights, and where we see violations of rights, people discarded or freedoms restricted, we will take bold action,” Kilmartin said.
State attorneys general have been at the forefront of the opposition to President Trump’s order. This amicus brief, co-authored by Massachusetts and Illinois, is joined by Attorneys General from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
“As state attorneys general, our job is to enforce the laws and to stand up for our states and our residents,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “The Trump administration’s Executive Order is unconstitutional, counterproductive, and harmful to the interests of our states. I join with my colleagues nationwide in a commitment to hold this administration accountable to the rule of law.”
The amicus brief highlights that the Executive Order has already caused concrete irreparable harms to the states’ residents, institutions, and businesses. Specifically, the states argue that the Executive Order harmed state colleges and universities, creating staffing gaps, precluding students’ attendance, and imposing additional costs and administrative burdens; that it has disrupted staffing and research at state medical institutions; and that it has immediately reduced tax revenues and is harming the economies of the states more broadly.
In the brief the states also urge the court to enter a preliminary injunction, because without continued relief from the Executive Order, the states will see a return of the chaos in airports as experienced the weekend following the issuance of the Executive Order. The states argue that without the extension of the current temporary restraining order, serious harms will continue to fall on the affected individuals who live, work, and study in their states, to their families and communities, and to the institutions and businesses that employ and educate them.
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