charlie baker
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he will back a lawsuit challenging President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. He's pictured here kicking off maple syrup month in Fitchburg, Massachusetts March 6, 2015. Brian Snyder/Reuters

UPDATE: 5:35 p.m. EST — Virginia’s attorney general joined the list of litigants challenging President Donald Trump’s immigration ban on seven Middle Eastern and African countries, calling it unconstitutional and unlawful.

“The Commonwealth has substantial interests justifying its intervention, and make no mistake, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and our people, are already being harmed by this Executive Order,” Attorney General Mark R. Herring said in a statement.

Mark R Herring
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring (right) joined the attorneys general of Massachusetts and Washington in challenging President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven countries. He's pictured here being sworn in, Jan. 11, 2014, in Richmond. Mike Theiler/Reuters

Original story

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday he backs a suit filed by his Democratic attorney general, challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven countries.

“The recent executive orders … will not improve our security and the lack of guidance associated with such an abrupt and overwhelming decision is problematic for all involved,” Baker said in a statement.

Trump signed an executive order Friday barring immigration from Syria indefinitely and for at least 90 days from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen— and suspending the U.S. refugee program for at least 120 days while “extreme vetting” procedures are developed.

Some 900 U.S. State Department employees signed an internal dissent memo critical of the ban.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Tuesday her office planned to file a lawsuit with the American Civil Liberties Union against the order, labeling it unconstitutional.

“It discriminates on the basis of religion and national origin, denies our residents access to due process and equal protection … and violates federal immigration law,” Healey said. She called the executive order “harmful, discriminatory and unconstitutional.”

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also said he would file suit against the order, saying it is his duty to defend “the rule of law,” and invited other states to join the suit.

“This is a president who does not have respect for the rule of the law,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told the Associated Press. “That's something that bothers a lot of people.”

Four federal judges — in Virginia, Massachusetts, New York and Washington — acted during the weekend to stay implementation of the executive order as tens of thousands of people demonstrated at airports across the country.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said the rollout of the travel ban could have been smoother, but he said he still supports it.

“No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigrant visas like translators get caught up in all of this, so I think … regrettably, the rollout was confusing but, on a go-forward basis, I’m confident that [Homeland Security] Secretary [John] Kelly is going to make sure that this is done correctly,” Ryan said Tuesday.

Kelly told a news conference Tuesday some of the countries on the banned list “may not be taken off … anytime soon.”

Kelly said 721 travelers have been kept from boarding planes headed for the United States while 1,060 green card holders were granted waivers since the order was implemented.