Oregon Joins Travel Ban Suit 02/23 06:12
SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon asked a federal court late Wednesday to join a
lawsuit filed by Washington state against an immigration ban imposed by
President Donald Trump.
Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in the motion that Oregon also needs
protection from the ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim
countries, which she said would harm Oregon's businesses, residents,
universities, health care and economy.
The lawsuit filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Jan. 30
resulted in a judge suspending Trump's temporary ban. Minnesota previously
joined the lawsuit.
Rosenblum wrote in the motion filed in U.S. District Court for the Western
District of Washington that if Washington and Minnesota prevail, the court
might craft a limited remedy instead of a nationwide injunction, which would
not address the harm caused to Oregon.
Both Rosenblum and Ferguson said in recent interviews with The Associated
Press that they are increasingly sharing information and consulting with each
other and with other Democratic counterparts, as the White House and Congress
try to roll back former President Barack Obama's policies and steer a
conservative course for the nation.
At stake are health care, the environment, immigrant rights, marijuana
legalization and many other issues.
"What I am very proud of is that state attorneys general are stepping up to
the plate," Rosenblum said, citing efforts by her counterparts, including in
Virginia, Massachusetts, New York and Hawaii.
Rosenblum told AP that Oregon is also readying for a court battle in case
the federal government tries to curtail abortion rights.
In particular, Rosenblum worries that the federal government will try to
force states to restrict abortion rights by cutting funding for Planned
Parenthood. The Hyde Amendment already prevents federal dollars from funding
abortions, she said, but Planned Parenthood also offers treatment for sexually
transmitted diseases and preventive health care. She said she already has
staffers researching a possible response.
"The penalizing of an organization that provides abortions but that does a
huge amount of other very, very important health care, to treat our citizens,
absolutely, we're going to push back against that to the greatest extent
possible," Rosenblum said.
Attorneys general, particularly from more liberal states, are coordinating
more via informal phone calls and emails, and in meetings such as those of the
Democratic Attorneys General Association, which Rosenblum co-chairs.
Trump has promised to issue a revised travel ban, saying it's needed to keep
America safe. Ferguson said in a telephone interview late Tuesday that his team
is ready to take further action.
"When it comes out, we will scrutinize it to see if it is constitutional and
lawful," Ferguson said. "If it is not, you can be sure we'll be following up."
The events before and after Trump's signing of the executive order highlight
the new level of communication among liberal states' attorneys general. The
Democratic Attorneys General Association had just finished holding a meeting in
Florida when Trump signed the order, on Jan. 27, a Friday.
Ferguson was flying back to Seattle but already had lined up a team of five
attorneys and support staff ready to pounce. As travelers from the banned
countries were detained at airports across America and were prevented from
boarding U.S.-bound flights, Ferguson's team worked through the weekend.
"The pace for those 72 hours, to say it was intense would be significant
understatement," Ferguson said. "We felt every hour mattered."
On Jan. 30, they asked a federal court for a temporary restraining order to
prevent enforcement of Trump's order, claiming it was unconstitutional.
Rosenblum said she helped organize a statement from 18 attorneys general
supporting Ferguson's lawsuit.
Eric Schneiderman, attorney general for New York, which was one of those 18
states and which also filed a lawsuit, said attorneys general are having an
"awakening" regarding the Trump administration.
Rosenblum said Ferguson deserves praise for being "first out of the gate"
and that she feels no rivalry about being first to stand up against White House
orders that are seen as illegal or unconstitutional.
"There's going to be plenty to go around," Rosenblum said.