OLYMPIA — Washington officials who challenged President Donald Trump’s original immigration restrictions declared victory Monday with a new order that removes some of the challenged elements. But they were not ready to say yet if the new restrictions will prompt more court actions.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Trump “capitulated” on key points Washington raised in its lawsuit, proving the original order was “indefensible.” He expected an announcement later this week on whether the new order, which goes into effect on March 16, has similar problems.
“We’re reviewing it carefully,” Ferguson said at a news conference a few hours after the new order was released.
The new restrictions still include a temporary ban on refugees from six predominantly Muslim countries. It no longer provides preferential treatment for religious minorities from those countries, which the state argued was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s freedom of religion provisions. But the state needs to try to determine the motivation behind it, he said.
Both Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee jabbed at Trump for a “SEE YOU IN COURT” comment the president made on Twitter shortly after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the temporary restraining order that put the original immigration restrictions on hold.
“Since then, the Justice Department has done everything in its power to avoid seeing anyone in court,” Ferguson said.
At a later news conference, Inslee took up the theme, insisting the president had been “slapped down,” and was in “full-blown retreat” on immigration.
“They won’t be seeing us anywhere except in the victory circle,” Inslee said.
The state will do a thorough review of the new order but it already knows it needs to be resolute in protecting the rights of its citizens, he added.
At one point, Inslee called Trump unhinged. Asked to explain that description, he accused the president of repeated unplanned actions, along with this weekend’s unsubstantiated accusation that Trump Tower had been wiretapped.
“He accused his predecessor, Barack Obama, of a crime with no evidence whatsoever,” Inslee said.