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California joins lawsuit challenging Trump's latest travel ban

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)
California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

California on Monday joined Washington and other states as a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's latest travel ban as an unconstitutional overreach, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said.

The lawsuit that California joined Monday says the narrower, temporary ban on travel from six majority-Muslim countries represents unconstitutional religious discrimination. A broader executive order by President Trump had previously been put on hold by the courts.

“Last month, our courts put a lid on the unconstitutional and un-American Trump Muslim travel ban because Americans stood up and demanded it," Becerra said in a statement. "The victory for lawful permanent residents and current visa holders was welcome news for everyone, especially the victims’ families. But the fight for fair and lawful treatment of all who would seek permission to enter our country is not over."

California is joining Washington, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts and Minnesota in challenging the new travel order. Becerra said the changes made by the administration, which include allowing visa holders to come into the country, do not go far enough. 

“The Trump Administration may have changed the text of the now-discredited Muslim travel ban, but they didn’t change its unconstitutional intent and effect," Becerra said. "It is still an attack on people — women and children, professors and business colleagues, seniors and civic leaders — based on their religion and national origin."

The state’s legal brief makes a case that California is harmed by the new travel ban. California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, welcomed almost 8,000 refugees last year, and hosts the greatest number of international students— almost 150,000 — of any state, the legal filing says.

The University of Southern California has 150-200 graduate students and post-doctoral scholars from the six affected countries each year.

The president’s executive order “substantially interferes with the continued matriculation of these students to California’s universities and colleges," the lawsuit alleges.

The brief quotes UC President Janet Napolitano as saying the latest executive order’s restrictions on travel are an “anathema to advancing knowledge and international cooperation” and infringe on “the free flow of students, faculty, scholars and researchers that are at the core of the universit[ies’] education, research and public service missions.”

The state also alleges it will be harmed financially, noting the $681 million spent by visitors to California from the Middle East in 2015 generated sales tax of $40.8 million for the state.

“The Second Executive Order will harm California by reducing investment and industry in California and decreasing travel by students, scholars, and tourists,” the legal filing says.

9:45 a.m.: This post was updated to include details from the legal filing and to reflect that the legal brief has been filed.

This post was originally published at 5 a.m.

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