POLITICS
02/06/2017 02:06 pm ET | Updated Feb 06, 2017

Trump's Immigration Order Is Getting Slammed With Legal Opposition

States, national security veterans and tech companies have mounted fierce opposition to the legality of the travel ban.

A group of former high-level government officials, nearly 100 tech CEOs and several state governments have all mounted legal opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration order, stating that it jeopardizes national security and stifles the U.S. economy. 

The latest is a declaration filed Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit by former secretaries of state Madeline Albright and John Kerry and several other former national security officials. In the filing, they expressed support for the temporary restraining order a Seattle judge issued last week against Trump’s executive order barring all Syrian refugees and people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. 

Trump’s order, they wrote, endangers U.S. troops and intelligence officials in those regions, disrupts counterterrorism and diplomatic efforts, alienates Muslim Americans who could aid in identifying radicals, has a devastating humanitarian impact, hurts the U.S. economy and could feed “the recruitment narrative of ISIL and other extremists that portray the United States as at war with Islam.”

The letter was co-signed by former government officials including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, former CIA director Michael Hayden, and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and philanthropists.”

Their declaration follows an amicus ― “friend of the court” ― brief that nearly 100 influential companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and Microsoft, filed late Sunday to the 9th Circuit.

“Immigrants are among our leading entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and philanthropists,” the brief stated. “The experience and energy of people who come to our country to seek a better life for themselves and their children — to pursue the ‘American Dream’ — are woven throughout the social political and economic fabric of the Nation.’”

The executive order, they continued, “makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain some of the world’s best employees,” so “American workers and the economy will suffer as a result.”

Both filings were in support of a lawsuit filed by Washington state and joined by Minnesota last Friday, which won a temporary nationwide restraining order against Trump’s executive order.

Also joining the action late Sunday was the state of Hawaii, which filed a motion to join the other two states in the appeal over the travel ban. The state had filed its own lawsuit in federal court hours before Trump’s order was blocked nationwide, and is now seeking intervention to protect its own unique interests.

“By virtue of the State’s especially heavy reliance on tourism, the Executive Order’s travel restrictions could immediately inflict damage on its economy,” the state said in its brief. “In addition, because Hawai‘i is an island state, residents are entirely reliant on air travel to leave and return home, and, for the vast majority, to travel between islands.”

Others who have weighed in against the travel ban before the 9th Circuit include a New York-led coalition of 15 states and the District of Columbia, the American Civil Liberties Union, constitutional scholars, and the Korematsu Center, a nonprofit that urges courts to understand the historical and discriminatory roots of government action aimed at racial minorities.

The 9th Circuit on Sunday shot down the Department of Justice’s request to immediately reinstate the ban, but the court will soon determine whether to keep it frozen while the states’ challenge proceeds in lower court.

In a separate case on the East Coast, the Commonwealth of Virginia asked a federal judge to force Trump, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and top government officials to show why they shouldn’t be held in contempt for failing to obey a lawful court order allowing attorneys access to legal permanent residents who had been detained at Dulles International Airport as a result of the executive order. That request and related legal challenges remain ongoing.

Earlier that week, California’s state Senate passed a resolution condemning the immigration executive order, saying it “desecrates our American values and panders to fears and nativist instincts.” 

In addition to the legal proceedings against Trump’s travel order, several business leaders have spoken out against it ― including those from Starbucks, Goldman Sachs, FordNetflix, Airbnb, Lyft and Nike ― along with many celebrities and athletes.

Cristian Farias contributed reporting.

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