Maura Healey Is Suing the President Again

The attorney general is joining a lawsuit against President Trump's executive order on immigration.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, right, joined by New York AG Eric Schneiderman, discusses a lawsuit against Volkswagen, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in New York. The states are suing Volkswagen and its affiliates Audi and Porsche over diesel emissions cheating, alleging that the German automakers defrauded customers by selling diesel vehicles equipped with software allowing them to cheat emissions testing. In response the company said, "The allegations in complaints filed by certain states today are essentially not new and we have been addressing them in our discussions with U.S. federal and state authorities." (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Photo via AP

Maura Healey isn’t messing around. Sounding the alarm about the impact of Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration and describing it as Islamophobia run amok, the Massachusetts attorney general announced today that her office is challenging the move in court.

Healey announced Tuesday that the state is joining a lawsuit taking on the legality of the order, which suspended the country’s refugee program and temporarily banned people from seven Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the U.S. The ban initially included those who already had lived and worked in the country legally. The suit was filed by the ACLU on behalf of two Iranian UMass Dartmouth professors who were detained for hours on Saturday night, despite having authorization to live and work here.

The move came with a sharply worded news release and press conference, and it’s clear she’s trying to send a message to the White House:

Harm to our institutions, our citizens, and our businesses is harm to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The President’s executive order is a threat to our Constitution. Rather than protecting our national security, it stigmatizes those who would lawfully emigrate to our state. With this policy, our global universities, hospitals, businesses and start-ups, and far too many students and residents have been put at risk. On behalf of the Commonwealth, my office is challenging the immigration ban to hold this administration accountable for its un-American, discriminatory, and reckless decision-making.

The release also says her office believes the order was “motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment and Islamophobia, not by a desire to further national security.”

Gov. Charlie Baker, who says his office worked through the weekend with Healey’s to gauge the impact of the ban on the state, released a statement in support of the lawsuit:

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. The recent executive order puts this at risk, will not improve our security, and the lack of guidance associated with such an abrupt and overwhelming decision is problematic for all involved.  Our administration has worked with the Attorney General’s office and supports her challenging this action. We look forward to the courts resolving this matter expeditiously.

Also listed as supporters of the lawsuit were Mayor Marty Walsh and other local politicians, leadership at UMass, Boston University and Harvard, the president of Oxfam, and the CEOs of MassTLC and the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association.

When it was announced on Friday, President Trump’s executive order spawned chaos, confusion, and outrage around the world, including at Logan Airport, as migrants who had been legally allowed to live in the country were turned away or detained. It also inspired protests, like the one that brought thousands to Copley Square.

Among them were the Iranian professors, Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and Arghavan Louhghalam. In a statement, UMass President Marty Meehan said he and his colleagues stand by the faculty members, and strongly support the lawsuit.

Over the last 72 hours, the UMass community of 100,000 current students, faculty and staff and 500,000 alumni has expressed to me in overwhelming numbers their opposition to this executive order. I have spoken with those who have been directly affected, with our faculty experts in security and foreign policy, with our attorneys and with leaders from across our five campuses. I have heard from countless students, alumni and friends. The UMass community firmly believes that this executive order is destructive to our interests and to our mission, which is why I support this complaint seeking to protect the economic, educational and cultural interests of the university and the Commonwealth as a whole.

In Boston, a federal judge has already ruled in favor of a one-week hold on the executive order here. That ruling led some immigration lawyers to recommend that travelers coming from the seven countries listed in the executive order—Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Syria—take flights to Logan.

Healey, a rising star among progressives, remains in the midst of a contentious campaign to rid the state of copycat assault rifles, and to force ExxonMobil to divulge how much its researchers knew about climate change while it continued to undermine the science on global warming.

A Trump critic, she also appears to be relishing the opportunity to publicly challenge his agenda. “I don’t wake up every day looking for a way to sue Donald Trump,” she tweeted on Monday night. “But we are 10 days in and I’ve filed three cases already.” It’s been retweeted more than 10,000 times.

Those cases include ones related to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, environmental regulations, and for-profit colleges.

Watch today’s full press conference here: