Press Release

Coalition of 17 Attorneys General File Amicus Brief Supporting Virginia’s Lawsuit against President Trump’s Executive Order

February 9, 2017 | Topic: Rights

HARRISBURG — On Wednesday, Nov. 8, 17 Attorneys General filed an amicus brief in support of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s executive order on immigration. This follows an amicus brief filed earlier this week with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, supporting Washington State’s lawsuit against the executive order.

The amicus brief is led by the Attorneys General from Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts, and also signed by the Attorneys General from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

“This filing is about keeping our communities safe, protecting our economy, and upholding the rule of law,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvania was founded on the promise of liberty and we’re proud to help lead this effort in support of Virginia’s lawsuit.”

In the amici curiae brief filed today in the Virginia suit, the Attorneys General stated: “The excluded individuals include those with valid U.S. visas that enable them to work, study, and travel within the amici States. The Executive Order thus inhibits the free exchange of information, ideas, and talent between the seven designated countries and the amici States, negatively affecting the financial stability and intellectual vitality of educational and research institutions, and disrupting large and small businesses throughout the States.”

The full amicus brief is available here: https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ed_va_state_amicus_as_filed.pdf

Co-author New York: “As Attorneys General, our primary job is to protect the people we represent,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “President Trump’s immigration ban represents an all-out assault on the rights of New Yorkers, on our economy and businesses, and on our educational and healthcare institutions. My fellow Attorneys General and I will continue to do everything in our power to strike down this unconstitutional, discriminatory, and chaotic order, and prevent further harm to the people we serve.”

Co-author Illinois: “Choosing who is allowed to come to our country based on their religious beliefs is unconstitutional and discriminatory,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “As the chief legal officer for one of the most diverse states in the nation, I am committed to protecting all of the residents of Illinois and our educational institutions and employers from the harm caused by this executive action.”

District of Columbia:  “We strongly believe this executive order violates both core constitutional principles and federal law, and we are proud to join with our fellow states in opposing its implementation in this case as well as the 9th Circuit case,” District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine said. “The District of Columbia, like all of our jurisdictions, is a city that has always thrived thanks to the hard work of immigrants and the educational and scientific resources that visitors and temporary residents from nations all over the world bring to our city every day. We will continue to fight for basic American principles of equal protection, religious freedom, and welcoming people from all nations and cultures.”

Maryland: “The Trump Administration’s Executive Order is not only a policy that is unwise and dangerous, but it is a policy that is inhumane, inappropriate and un-American,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. “As Attorneys General, collectively we will use our authority to protect the business community, educational institutions, and our citizens from this unconstitutional order.”

North Carolina: “President Trump’s executive order undermines the core American value of religious tolerance, and it makes us less safe. It signals to the world that America sees all Muslims as terrorists, strengthening ISIS’s propaganda and efforts to recruit terrorists. That is why I will join my colleagues in taking action,” said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.

Rhode Island: “We will continue to review each lawsuit filed to determine how best we can, individually and collectively, stop the President’s ill-conceived, immoral, and unconstitutional executive order,” saidRhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.  “As a state and a nation, we benefit academically, culturally and economically from the many immigrants that make up our communities.  This executive order not only has a chilling effect on those communities but also on our academic institutions and our economy.”

The amicus brief highlights the irreparable harm already caused to the amici states, including disruptions to staffing and intellectual exchange at colleges, universities, and medical institutions; enduring harm to the states’ economies and tax revenues; and the irreparable injury caused by the executive order’s egregious violations of the U.S. Constitution.

In particular, the brief cites the hundreds of employees and thousands of students affected by the order at state educational institutions, as well as disruptions to medical staffing and research.  Additionally, the brief highlights the large number of entrepreneurs, developers, and other professionals who are foreign-born, and on which businesses and the states’ economies rely. The order has also caused the amici states to lose both direct and indirect tax revenue.

The brief goes on to detail how the executive order violates the Establishment, Due Process, and Equal Protection clauses of the constitution, and how the order’s chaotic implementation has gravely harmed people in the states. As the brief states, “Without judicial action staying the implementation of the Executive Order across the country, our States will see a return of the chaos experienced in our airports beginning on the weekend of January 28 and 29, and continued serious harms to the individuals who live, work, and study in our States; the institutions that employ and educate such persons; and the communities in which they reside.”

The amicus brief calls for the Court to enter a preliminary injunction enjoining the operation of the executive order on a nationwide basis.

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