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BOSTON/SAN FRANCISCO Legal challenges to
President Donald Trump’s first moves to restrict the flow of
people into the United States spread on Tuesday as Massachusetts
and San Francisco sued to challenge two of his early executive
Massachusetts on Tuesday joined the legal battle against
Trump’s order banning travel into the United States by citizens
of seven Muslim-majority countries, a move the White House
described as necessary to improve national security. A lawsuit
contends that the order violated the U.S. Constitution’s
guarantees of religious freedom.
San Francisco sued to challenge a Trump directive to
withhold federal money from U.S. cities that have adopted
sanctuary policies toward undocumented immigrants, which local
officials argue help local police by making those immigrants
more willing to report crimes.
The legal maneuvers were the latest acts of defiance against
executive orders signed by Trump last week that sparked a wave
of protests in major U.S. cities, where thousands of people
decried the new president’s actions as discriminatory.
Both policies are in line with campaign promises by
Republican businessman-turned-politician Trump, who vowed to
build a wall on the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration
and to take hard-line steps to prevent terrorist attacks in the
“At bottom, what this is about is a violation of the
Constitution,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said
of the order halting travel by people with passports from Iran,
Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, which
also stopped resettlement of refugees for 120 days and
indefinitely banned Syrian refugees.
“It discriminates against people because of their religion,
it discriminates against people because of their country of
origin,” Healey said at a Boston press conference, flanked by
leaders from the tech, healthcare and education sectors who said
that the order could limit their ability to attract and retain
highly educated workers.
Massachusetts will be backing a lawsuit filed over the
weekend in Boston federal court by two Iranian men who teach the
University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. A federal judge
blocked the government from expelling those men from the country
and halted enforcement of the order for seven days, following
similar but more limited moves in four other states.
New York state on Tuesday joined a similar lawsuit filed in
its federal courts challenging the ban, Attorney General Eric
Schneiderman said in statement.
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit over
Trump’s order cutting funds to cities with sanctuary policies, a
move that could stop the flow of billions of dollars in aid to
major U.S. population centers also including New York, Los
Angeles and Chicago.
“The president’s executive order is not only
unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” Herrera said.
Sanctuary cities adopt policies that limit cooperation, such
as refusing to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement detainer requests. Advocates of the policies say
that they help local police by making undocumented immigrants
more willing to report crimes and serve as witnesses if they do
not fear that contact with law enforcement will lead to their
Both the San Francisco and Boston actions contend that
Trump’s orders in question violate the 10th Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution, which states that powers not granted to the
federal government should fall to the states. (Additional reporting by Mica Rosenberg and Curtis Skinner)
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