The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upholds a stay on President Trump’s executive order on immigration means refugees will continue to resettle in Oregon and Washington, at least for now.
Reactions from Northwest leaders quickly poured in from across the region following the court’s decision.
The court left in place a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S.
Washington state launched this challenge to the president’s anti-terrorism policy. Since then more than a dozen other states have joined the legal effort.
Democratic Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson exulted at a Seattle news conference.
“Bottom line, this is a complete victory for the state of Washington,” Ferguson said. “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a unanimous decision effectively granted everything we sought.”
The ruling also buoys a lawsuit Oregon groups filed last week to strike down the executive order.
Last week, Stephen Manning, an attorney with the Immigrant Law Group, and the ACLU of Oregon filed a lawsuit on behalf of Unite Oregon. That suit asked a judge to stop the government from “unconstitutionally banishing” immigrants and refugees who fly into Portland International Airport.
“If you believe in rule of law principles then this is a good thing,” Manning said of the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
Manning said it’s important for his case because it predicts the Trump administration’s legal argument is likely to lose down the line.
“We have this fully formed opinion that’s more than 20 pages explaining why the allegations and our suit, in the Unite Oregon suit, actually have legal validity and that they are actually likely to succeed, that the government’s unlikely to be able to defend against the charges of unconstitutionality,” Manning said.
This week, refugees have arrived in state from Iraq, with more on the way from Pakistan, Ukraine and Eritrea.
“We’re still on edge not knowing for sure what the long-term status is,” said Stephanie Green Weizer, with Lutheran Community Services in Portland. The nonprofit helps resettle refugees.
She said many in the region’s refugee community have been worried since the executive order was signed because they haven’t known if they’ll be able to reunite with family members.
But, Green Weizer said, she’s grateful for the court’s ruling.
“For right now our refugee program will absolutely continue to have refugees arriving, which is really exciting,” she said.
Oregon is actively to working to join the original lawsuit filed by Minnesota and Washington state that challenges President Trump’s travel ban.
President Trump has been critical of the Seattle ruling. He responded to the Ninth Circuit ruling with a tweet that said “SEE YOU IN COURT.”
SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2017
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee praised the court’s decision and urged Trump to rethink his executive order on immigration and refugees.
“I just saw a tweet from the president,” Inslee said. “He said ‘see you in court.’ Well, Mr. President, we just saw you in court and we beat you. And you ought to think about this because these courts have said this is unconstitutional and it will not stand and we’re hopeful that that happens and if it doesn’t, Washington state is going to continue this fight.”
The president’s remark also drew a response from Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
“I heard that the President said ‘See you in Court,’” Rosenblum told OPB. “And I guess I would say back to him, ‘Yes, Mr. President, we will see you in court.’”
Rosenblum later speculated to OPB that President Trump might be talking about the U.S. Supreme Court, suggesting she expects a quick appeal. But Rosenblum said she has been working with her Washington state counterpart, Ferguson, to add Oregon to the case, if or when it arrives back in Seattle district court.
“Bob Ferguson and I have coordinated and agreed that as soon as the case is sent back to the federal district court, that we would jointly make that motion to amend,” Rosenblum said.
Oregon GOP chairman Bill Currier says Rosenblum and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown should have other priorities.
“It’s really a redirection of time and resources from the more pressing matters we need to deal with here in Oregon,” Currier said. “The governor and the attorney general have no business, nor did Washington have any business, deciding for the rest of the nation what our border security should be. That’s the president’s job.”
It’s possible the Trump administration will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene on the appeals court ruling. If that happens, it could interfere with Oregon’s ability to join the case.
OPB’s Chris Lehman in Salem contributed to this report.
This article was originally published at 5:26 p.m.
Updated at 7:25 p.m. with comments from Oregon GOP chairman Bill Currier.