LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Monday filed court papers joining the legal challenge to President Donald Trump‘s immigration orders, supporting Washington state’s lawsuit that contends the travel restrictions targeting people from Muslim-majority countries are unconstitutional.
Becerra filed a friend-of-the-court brief, joining with attorneys general from New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia in urging the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to deny an administration effort to restore the restrictions, which were suspended Friday by a federal judge in Seattle.
A three-judge appeals panel was scheduled to receive arguments from both sides on Tuesday. The judges will conduct the hearing by telephone at 3 p.m.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed its brief with the court this afternoon in support of Trump’s order.
“The Executive Order is a lawful exercise of the President’s authority over the entry of aliens into the United States and the admission of refugees,” the department wrote.
The court could rule within a week on whether the temporary restraining order against Trump’s directives should remain in place until the constitutional issues are decided.
The matter could well go to the Supreme Court, which is currently split 4-4 between liberal and conservative justices. If the nation’s highest court votes 4-4, the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court would stand.
Trump’s order would halt immigration from Syria, Iraq, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days and stop the arrivals of refugees from all countries for 120 days while federal authorities devise additional security screening procedures.
Becerra said he took action “to preserve the suspension of the Trump Administration’s travel ban” on behalf of the nearly 40 million residents of California.
“The administration’s reckless dismissal of the constitution threatens to rip apart California families, risks their economic well-being and defies centuries of our American tradition,” the AG said.
“The brief I joined tells the appeals court that immigrants are the life-blood of our nation who work hard to build our country, especially in California,” he said. “Our universities, medical institutions, businesses, and our tax base are all harmed by President Donald Trump’s unconstitutional and un-American order.”
In the brief, Becerra offered what he said were examples of how California would be harmed if the ban were implemented. They include the risk of medical school programs having insufficient medical residents to meet staffing needs and the disruption of the process of admitting immigrant students to state colleges and universities.
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