A barrage of lawsuits have greeted Mr Trump’s efforts to restrict travellers from certain countries and punish so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
The legal blitz succeeded in halting Mr Trump’s initial travel ban, which blocked travellers from seven majority-Muslim nations and all refugees from entering the United States. He subsequently signed a scaled-back version.
The Supreme Court this week tossed out a challenge to that narrowed-down iteration, which had expired.
In its place came a new order, enacted in September, that seeks to halt or limit immigration from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The latest directive differs from its predecessors in a key way: its restrictions would apply indefinitely.
Pushing the legal confrontation forward despite the Supreme Court’s rebuff, attorneys general in California, Washington, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have sued to halt the order.
“The Courts have previously rebuffed different versions of this blatantly discriminatory anti-Muslim travel ban,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a press release. “Yet, the Trump Administration continues to play games with the lives of thousands of people.”
Protestors rally at JFK Airport against Muslim immigration ban
In a filing seeking a restraining order to suspend the latest immigration order, the attorneys general argue that efforts to reshape the limits imposed by previous orders amount to “window dressing” on the same unconstitutional core.
They cite Mr Trump’s “history of demagoguery towards Islam” in arguing the order is “again motivated by a discriminatory purpose”.
Their states would suffer as schools lost access to foreign scholars and saw broad repercussions for “employment, education, business, family relations, and freedom to travel”, the filing argues.
Elsewhere in the immigration-focused clash between states and the federal government, the Department of Justice warned on Thursday that Chicago, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia were violating federal law by refusing to turn over information on immigrants.
California last week enacted a sweeping measure, dubbed a “sanctuary state” law, that aims to wall off local jails and police officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.