Washington state’s attorney general declared on Monday that he was suing President Donald Trump over his temporary ban on immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations, making it the first state to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.
Mr Trump’s executive order also suspended the United States’ entire refugee program and set off nationwide protests over the weekend, including one that drew 3,000 people to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“If successful it would have the effect of invalidating the president’s unlawful action nationwide,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said at a news conference.
Mr Ferguson was one of 16 state attorneys general who released a statement on Sunday calling Mr Trump’s immigration action “un-American and unlawful.”
Mr Trump has repeatedly said that Friday’s order suspending immigration for citizens of the seven countries for 90 days is aimed at protecting the nation against extremists looking to attack Americans and U.S. interests.
The lawsuit against Mr Trump, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and high-ranking Trump administration officials was filed in federal court in Seattle.
The complaint seeks to have key provisions of the executive order declared unconstitutional, Mr Ferguson said. The state is also asking for a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the order.