March 15, 2017

Balderas files brief opposing new travel ban

Courtesy photo

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas.

Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a brief opposing the revised travel ban on travel from six Muslim majority countries earlier this week.

Balderas previously supported a lawsuit by the state of Washington opposing the previous travel ban. That lawsuit succeeded and federal courts halted the program. Despite a Twitter declaration by President Donald Trump, the administration did not appeal that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The recent brief supported a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by the state of Hawaii.

“Discriminating against people for their religion is un-American and unconstitutional, and as such, I will fight President Trump’s new travel ban in court alongside other states,” Balderas said in a statement. “Additionally, New Mexico cannot afford to have our hospitals, research facilities and universities negatively impacted by this illegal order.”

In addition to Balderas, the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and the Washington D.C. signed onto the lawsuit.

The previous executive order on travel from Trump was put on hold when Washington argued it was discriminatory.

The new lawsuit says the revised ban, which removed Iraq from the list of Muslim countries on the  travel ban and made other smaller changes, is not significantly different from the previous ban.

The amicus brief signed onto by Balderas says the new order “retains two essential pillars” of the previous order: “a sweeping ban on entry to the United States by nationals of several predominantly Muslim countries and a complete suspension of the refugee program.”

Trump has said the order is necessary for a national security standpoint.

The Attorneys General argue that it would hurt the states “in many ways” including impacting benefits from tourism and international students.