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AG Healey: Mass. Will Join Legal Fight Against Trump's Revised Travel Ban

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (Steven Senne/AP)
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (Steven Senne/AP)
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Massachusetts is the latest state to join the legal fight against President Trump's revised travel order.

On Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Maura Healey announced plans to counter the executive order, calling the temporary ban unlawful and discriminatory.

Massachusetts joins a number of other states in challenging the constitutionality of Trump's second travel order. The action bars entry into the U.S. for some people from six predominately Muslim countries and temporarily halts the refugee admissions program, effective March 16.

Matthew Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, says they've always known legal challenges to the president's executive order would require the combined efforts of states and nonprofits. Segal argued against Trump's first executive order in Boston federal court last month.

"The main thing that we want to accomplish is to make sure that the ACLU is standing up for people's rights and protecting people from an executive order that seems designed to hurt them," Segal said. "The Trump administration clearly concluded that the initial executive order was doomed in court and one of the reasons it was obviously doomed in court is because the discriminatory intent behind it was clear."

Segal says the new order continues to discriminate against Muslims.

Earlier Thursday, Healey's office voluntarily dismissed its original case, filed with the ACLU on behalf of University of Massachusetts, to counter Trump's executive order from Jan. 27. (A Boston judge denied an extension of the stay on the executive order, but the decision was of no consequence because a Seattle judge issued a restraining order on the travel ban, which applied nationwide.)

Healey said Massachusetts will be joining Washington and Minnesota's lawsuit early next week when an amended complaint is filed.

In a statement, Healey said:

“President Trump’s second travel ban remains a discriminatory and unconstitutional attempt to make good on his campaign promise to implement a Muslim ban. We are consolidating our legal efforts and joining fellow states, led by Washington, in continuing to challenge this Administration’s unlawful immigration policies. We look forward to presenting our arguments to the court in the coming days to protect our residents, institutions, and economy in Massachusetts.”

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Shannon Dooling is an investigative reporter at WBUR, focused on stories about immigration and criminal justice.

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