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State legislatures push back on President Trump's travel ban

Kevin King

Kevin King

Feb 4, 2017

On January 27th, President Trump signed an executive order  “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Within hours, demonstrators flooded major airports across the country to challenge the implications of what was quickly dubbed the “travel ban.” Elected officials on both sides of the aisle spoke out against the ban with a surge of dialogue coming from state legislators, attorneys general, and governors across the country.

1 Republican joined 20 Democratic Attorneys General in opposition to the ban

Forty eight hours after the order was signed, 16 Democratic attorneys general led by New York AG Eric Schneiderman issued a joint statement condemning President Trump’s executive order and vowing to fight the travel ban in the courts. As of today, 21 AG’s have come out in opposition to the travel ban including 20 Democrats and 1 Republican, Georgia AG Chris Carr. Andy Beshear of Kentucky and Jim Hood of Mississippi are the only 2 Democratic attorneys general that have yet to issue a statement of opposition.


On Friday evening, the attorneys general of Washington state and Minnesota were successful when U.S. District Court Judge James Robart of Seattle ruled in favor of a lawsuit they brought seeking to overturn the order.

One-third of governors opposed the travel ban

Twelve Democratic governors and 6 Republican governors have issued statements of opposition to the ban. The only Democratic governors to not publicly oppose the travel ban are Governor Edward (LA), Governor Bullock (MT), and Governor Justice (WV) -- all states where President Trump won big last November. In fact, 13 of the 18 opposing governors represent states won by Secretary Clinton, while only 5 represent states won by President Trump.


Democrats reacted with legislation … and a lot of tweets

Democratic lawmakers in New York, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, California, Texas, New Mexico, and Georgia introduced legislation condemning the executive order, calling on Congress to rescind the travel ban, or allocating funds to support immigrants and refugee programs.

Since the order took effect, there have been 432 mentions of the "travel ban" by state legislators on social media. Democrats dominated the conversation with 353 mentions to Republicans 73 mentions.

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A majority of the mentions came from legislators in New Hampshire and New York.


State government in the Trump era.

With President Trump set on reducing the size of government, state officials are poised to play more of a hands-on role in the direction of major issue areas like healthcare and tax reform. Additionally, there will likely be an increase in exposure of how state attorneys general respond to executive orders like the travel ban. As of today, every state with the exception of Nevada, Louisiana, and Alabama have convened their legislative bodies.


See Map of 2017 State Legislative Party Control

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