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March 15, 2017

Philadelphia, 23 other cities file challenge to halt Trump's travel ban

Philadelphia is among two dozen U.S. cities to challenge President Donald Trump's latest measure to restrict immigration from six majority-Muslim nations in federal court, city officials said.

The mayor's office announced Wednesday that Philly has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, where six states have challenged the travel ban. The effort is the second in as many months after Trump revised the executive order after his first attempt was struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Joining Philly are New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and more. City officials argue that the new measure, set to take effect on Thursday, is unconstitutional and would harm the local economy.

“By joining in this brief, we want to inform the Court that we believe that the travel ban is not only illegal, but it also hurts Philadelphia and offends the values that make this City a welcoming place for refugees fleeing persecution and for immigrants seeking to start a new life," said Sozi Pedro Tulante, city solicitor.

The order prohibits people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days and bans all refugees for 120 days while revised immigration screening procedures are put into place.

The brief claims that 14 percent – or 197,563 people – of Philly's population are immigrants and approximately 17 percent – 108,010 employees – of the city's workforce are foreign-born.

“This reinforces Philadelphia’s commitment to protecting our immigrant and refugee communities, and to being a welcoming city to all," said Miriam Enriquez, the city's director of immigrant affairs.

In January, Trump issued the first travel ban, which went into effect immediately and included Iraq. The order prompted protests at American airports until it was blocked in court.