Massachusetts AG Sues Over Trump Immigration Order
The Massachusetts attorney general is taking action to challenge President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday that her office will seek to join a federal case that challenges the ban on immigration from seven predominately-Muslim countries, alleging that it is unconstitutional and harmful to the citizens, academic institutions and businesses in Massachusetts.
" We are taking action because it is the right thing to do, the right thing under the law and the right thing for the people of Massachusetts," she said.
Healey is one the first state attorneys general to challenge the Executive Order signed by Trump last Friday that put a 90-day ban on all immigration from Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Lybia, and Syria and stopped all refugees from coming to the U.S. for 120 days.
The AG’s office filed a motion in U.S. District Court seeking to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Massachusetts and private attorneys on behalf of two Iranian nationals teaching at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth who were detained at Logan Airport.
" We are also suing to protect the rights of businesses, colleges, hospital and the residents of Massachusetts who are unable to travel or plan for the future," she Healey
The Democratic attorney general was joined at a news conference announcing the lawsuit by immigrant advocates, the president of the Massachusetts ACLU, representatives of the state’s high tech and health care industries, and UMass President Marty Meehan.
Meehan said the state’s five-campus university system has 166 faculty and staff members and more than 300 students from the countries where travel is now prohibited under Trump’s order.
"Those students and those faculty members who come to us from other parts of the world are critically important to our mission," said Meehan. " You can not be a world-class research institution and not reach out to those scholars all over the world."
Mike Sroczynski, vice president of the Massachusetts Health and Hospitals Association, said the immigration ban, if it is allowed to stand, will have a chilling effect on recruiting researchers and doctors to come from overseas to study and practice in the U.S.
" We stand firmly and proudly behind our staff and patients and stand firmly behind the Commonwealth's legal challenge to this order," he said.
Additionally, Boston-based Oxfam America plans to join the lawsuit as a plaintiff because president Ray Offenheiser said the travel restrictions made it impossible for the international hunger relief organization to function.
" We are pleased and proud to join the Commonwealth and the ACLU as a plaintiff in this case," he said.
The lawsuit claims Trump’s order is unconstitutional because it takes away rights without due process, discriminates against people based on their country of origin and religion, and infringes on the sovereign authority of Massachusetts.
Carol Rose, president of the ACLU of Massachusetts, said she is confident the president’s order will be struck down in the end.
" It is just so clearly unconstitutional," she said.
The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton. He was appointed to the bench by President George H.W. Bush.