States seeking Trump travel ban block want new hearing

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SEATTLE (AP) - California on Monday joined Washington state's growing effort to block President Donald Trump's revised travel ban targeting predominantly Muslim nations as Washington's attorney general sought a hearing before a federal judge to try to prevent the order from taking effect this week.

In a new complaint filed in U.S. District Court Monday, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked for a hearing with the judge based in Seattle on Tuesday, two days before the revised travel ban is scheduled to begin.

He said the new travel ban is unconstitutional and harms state residents, universities and businesses, especially tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon who rely on foreign workers. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon joined Washington in the legal action.

"No one is above the law, not even the President - and I will hold him accountable to the Constitution," Ferguson said in a statement. "Cutting some illegal aspects of President Trump's original travel ban does not cure his affront to our Constitution."

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the order, despite being changed, represents an attack on people based on their religion or national origin.

Ferguson filed the new court documents after a federal judge last week said he wouldn't immediately rule on whether his restraining order against the old ban applies to the new Trump executive order. U.S. District Judge James Robart on Friday asked for new motions or a complaint.

Washington was the first state to sue over the original ban, which resulted in Robart halting its implementation around the country.

Trump's revised ban blocks new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries including Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

It also temporarily shuts down the U.S. refugee program. Unlike the original order, the new one says current visa holders won't be affected, and it removes language that would give priority to religious minorities.

Ferguson acknowledged the changes to the order, but said the revised ban still "bars entry for virtually all other individuals from the listed countries," including relatives of U.S. citizens and students who have been admitted to state universities and people who might seek work at schools and businesses.

"This Court's original injunction protected these individuals and institutions," Washington's new court filing said. Washington state said the federal government can't enforce the new travel ban unless it asks Robart to modify his original temporary restraining order.

"Until they do so, they cannot escape the injunction and continue their illegal conduct," the filing said.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said last week that the administration believed the revised travel ban will stand up to legal scrutiny.


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.