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Ferguson says Trump can’t play ‘whack-a-mole’ with travel ban

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson explains how he plans to deal with Trump's latest executive order. (Office of the AG)

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson believes that President Trump’s latest executive order is too similar to the original that placed a travel ban on refugees and people from seven countries attempting to enter the United States.

Related: Ferguson disappointed in Trump’s flippant reaction to judge’s ruling

Ferguson announced that his office will file a motion in federal district court in Seattle to ask Judge Robart to reaffirm the injunction against what has become known as Trump’s travel ban.

“This cannot be a game of whack-a-mole,” Ferguson said, adding that the president can’t just repackage an executive order and decide it’s different enough than the original. That, he says, is up to the court.

“For that reason, we are claiming the president can’t remain free of the judge’s ruling,” he said.

President Trump signed a revised travel ban Monday morning that halts entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas and suspends the country’s refugee program. The ban will have an effective date of March 16.

The original order, Executive Order 13769, barred all visitors from those seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for 90 days. U.S. District Court Senior Judge James L. Robart issued an injunction halting the order after Ferguson filed his lawsuit on Jan. 30 challenging key provisions as illegal and unconstitutional.

Here are some comparisons between the old and new order:

Lawful Permanent Residents (“Green Card” Holders)

• Original order: Restricted the international travel of about 500,000 current Green Card holders who are citizens of the seven targeted countries. Conflicting guidance from the Administration regarding Green Card holders contributed to widespread confusion in the days following the order’s issuance.
• Revised order: Deleted.

Dual Citizens

• Original order: The Trump Administration initially said that dual citizens — those who hold a passport from one of the seven countries and either a U.S. passport or a passport from another non-banned country — were not permitted to enter the United States for 90 days. Again, shifting Administration guidance contributed to the chaos.
• Revised order: Deleted.

Visa Holders

•Original order: Halted, for 90 days, U.S. entry by citizens of the targeted countries with valid visas to visit the U.S. Tens of thousands of previously issued visas were revoked.
•Revised order: Deleted.

Syrian Refugees

• Original order: Suspended entry of refugees from Syria indefinitely.
• Revised order: Syrian refugees treated like those from other countries. Following a 120-day moratorium, refugees may be admitted to the U.S. following standard vetting process.

Religious Minorities

• Original order: Prioritized religious-persecution claims by refugees only for minority religions in countries of origin (i.e., non-Muslims in the targeted countries).
• Revised order: Does not explicitly prioritize refugees based on religion.

Affected Countries

• Original order: Applied to travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
• Revised order: No longer includes Iraq.

Effective Date

• Original order: Went into effect immediately, causing widespread chaos and confusion at airports around the world.
• Revised order: Takes effect March 16, 2017.

Eric Mandel contributed to this story

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