AG Healey Joins ACLU Lawsuit Challenging Trump’s Travel Restrictions

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BOSTON — Every member of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, as well as Republican Governor Charlie Baker, offered public words of support on Tuesday after Attorney General Maura Healey announced her office would be joining an American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban.

“Massachusetts is a global community and we all benefit from the shared experiences of our partners from around the world to support our economy and educational institutions to make our state the best place to live, work and raise a family,” Baker said in a prepared statement, adding that his administration “supports” Healey’s efforts in fighting Trump’s executive order.

Baker’s statement came just before Healey, accompanied by leaders from the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union, held a press conference insider her office at One Ashburton Place.

Healey called Trump’s order “illegal” and said her office is “also suing to protect the rights of businesses, colleges, hospitals, and the residents of Massachusetts who are unable to travel or to plan for the future.”

Trump’s order enacted a 90-day restriction preventing citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries in the Middle East and in Africa from setting foot on American soil. His order also puts a 120-day moratorium on accepting new refugees, and indefinitely suspends accepting refugees from Syria.

Two UMass-Dartmouth engineering professors from Iran — both of whom Healey stressed were “permanent, lawful residents of the United States” — were among a handful of travelers detained at Boston’s Logan International Airport over the weekend as a result of the order, which Trump signed Friday. The ACLU of Massachusetts later successfully won a seven-day reprieve from federal court. The ACLU’s initial lawsuit seeks to overturn Trump’s order entirely. Healey’s entrance into the fray means she is now one of the first attorneys general to challenge Trump.

According to Healey’s office, her intervention “comes on behalf of the commonwealth as well as the University of Massachusetts.”

During her press conference, Healey also described Trump’s order as “unconstitutional,” “discriminatory,” and “dangerous.”

“It sends the message that some people aren’t wanted, that people will be judged, classified, and segregated,” Healey added.

ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose. (Evan Lips — New Boston Post)

ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose said she feels “proud” to see Healey join the case, and added that Trump’s order “is illegal, is unconstitutional, and it’s unpatriotic.” 

“The ban violates people’s fundamental rights — it violates their First Amendment rights, forbidding the government from discriminating against people based on their religion — and also violates people’s 14th Amendment, which represents equal protection and due process under the law,” Rose said. “It’s just so clearly unconstitutional and we believe it will be struck down.”


The court battle, however, will likely boil down to a showdown between constitutional and federal law. According to federal laws governing entrance to the United States, the president “may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

“The ACLU told President Trump that if he tried to bring unconstitutional policies into our country we would see him in court,” Rose added. “We met him in court on Saturday night and we won that temporary stay — now that we have the power of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the office of Attorney General Maura Healey behind us, I’m even more confident that this order will be struck down permanently.

“The fight is far from over.”