SEATTLE - Washington state's attorney general has filed a federal suit against President Donald Trump over an executive order that suspended immigration from seven countries with majority-Muslim populations and sparked nationwide protests.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the legal action Monday, becoming the first state attorney general to announce a legal action against the Trump administration over one of its policies.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare key provisions of the extreme vetting order unconstitutional, seeking to invalidate the policy nationwide, according to the Attorney General's Office.
"It’s unconstitutional. You can’t do that. It violates the rule of law, and I will not put up with it. I won’t," said Ferguson at a news conference.
Attorneys for the state said their legal argument claims both constitutional and statutory violations.
"It ranges from equal protection, procedural due process, violations of specific statues," said Ferguson. "The bottom line is the president has limits to his powers, and what our lawsuit expresses is what those limits are, and we believe them to be unconstitutional."
"This is un-American; it is wrong, and it will not stand," said Governor Jay Inslee who spent the weekend speaking out against the executive order at rallies at Sea-Tac Airport and downtown Seattle.
"President Trump may have his alternative facts, but alternative facts do not work in a courtroom," the Governor continued.
Governor Inslee cited not only legal and moral concerns, but also economic and security risks as a result of the executive order.
"Stop giving ISIS recruiting posters," said Inslee. "Hats off to (Senator) John McCain and others who are speaking out to this executive order on this basis."
Ferguson also responded to the firing of Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates after she instructed the Department of Justice not to defend the Trump Administration over the President's travel ban.
"This is troubling for the Justice Department and the independence of that department," Ferguson told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "I think Sally Yates, she had a right. It's a difficult order to defend and we believe it's unconstitutional and un-American."
The continued fallout follows confusion and chaos at airports nationwide, as federal agents began to enforce President Trump's executive order signed Friday that suspends immigration for citizens of the seven countries for 90 days, as well as suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely for Syrian Refugees.
President Trump defended his executive order Sunday saying in part: "This is not about religion," read a statement from the White House. "This is about terror and keeping our country safe."
Ferguson and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum were two of 16 state attorneys general who released a statement Sunday calling Trump's immigration action "un-American and unlawful."
Local tech giant Amazon wrote a declaration in support of the suit, along with Expedia.
"I think he knows he’s got very thin ice he’s standing on legally," said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Susan Hutchison in a late Monday news conference.
Chairman Hutchison, however, acknowledged the concern and confusion over the implementation of the executive order this past weekend.
"I think it was concerning for everyone including the administration in that there probably needed to be a little more preparation before the announcement of the executive order and some of the details that have been worked out in the last 72 hours," said Hutchison.
"We are in the age of politics at the speed of Donald Trump," she noted.
The WSRP Chairman indicated support of the immigration policy proposal, overall.
"I support a temporary halt in order of the various agencies to get a plan in place to vet all of these folks who are seeking refuge in our country or coming here for any other reasons in order to make sure we are not inadvertently allowing people in who could cause us harm," she said.
"I trust greatly the people the president is putting into place. I think they have a tremendous amount of expertise and know how when it comes to national security. All the cabinet positions that are in place to keep this country safe, and I trust they bring that expertise and know a lot more than we know is out there," said Hutchison.