Before President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on refugees and migrants takes effect on Thursday, it must survive a bevy of legal challenges, which will be heard just hours before its scheduled implementation.
Though additional challenges will no doubt emerge in the coming weeks, Wednesday will see three hearings from various plaintiffs, including blue state attorneys general and advocacy groups, who hope to stop parts of the order before Thursday.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked U.S. District Court Judge James Robart — who issued an order temporarily barring enforcement of the first executive order — to block provisions of the new directive which suspend the refugee resettlement program and block travel from six countries with high instances of terror.
Robart will hear arguments from Ferguson and Department of Justice lawyers Wednesday, before determining whether to temporarily block the revised order. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon are backing Washington’s suit.
Washington filed its amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington Monday morning.
Government lawyers will also defend the order before U.S. District Judge Theordore Chuang Wednesday morning. A coalition of advocacy groups, including the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, and HIAS, Inc., have asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to block the order in its entirety.
A third hearing will take place in Hawaii Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson. Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin is challenging the same provisions implicated in the Washington litigation. The state has enlisted former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells for support in the challenge.
To prevail in these challenges, the plaintiffs must demonstrate that they will suffer irreparable harm without a ruling temporarily barring the order, and that they have a strong chance of success when the lawfulness of the order is assessed. They must also demonstrate that they have suffered a tangible injury, called “standing.” Some conservative critics contend the challenges brought by states should be dismissed for lack of standing.
A Narrow Loss
The order was handed something of a defeat Friday, when U.S. District Judge William Conley enjoined the federal government from using the directive to block the arrival of two Syrian refugees — a mother and her child — who wish to join a relative in the United States. The relative was previously granted asylum in the U.S.
Conley’s ruling applies only to this particular case and does not concern the merits of the order. Further argument will take place in the case later this month.
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