A U.S. anti-poverty group said on Wednesday it is joining a Massachusetts lawsuit to strike down President Donald Trump’s travel ban, as the law has blocked overseas partners from meeting with officials in Washington.
Boston-based Oxfam America joined the ACLU of Massachusetts and state Attorney General Maura Healey in challenging the order which halts refugee resettlement for 120 days and travel into the United States by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
Trump is facing legal challenges from four states – Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Washington state – saying the order targets Muslim-majority countries and violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom. The White House says the order is necessary for national security.
Oxfam provides humanitarian aid to families in five of the countries on the travel ban – Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan.
Oxfam had to cancel a meeting in the next 90 days because it cannot bring its country director to Washington to brief State and Treasury Department officials.
An Oxfam spokeswoman declined to say which of the countries the person was based in, citing security concerns.
The group was also planning to bring representatives from Syria for meetings in March but the order will also prevent those trips.
The U.S. Justice Department is due to argue the case in the U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday.
In New York on Wednesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in Foley Square and marched in Lower Manhattan, chanting “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”
Many in the crowd carried signs, flags and banners, including some placards written in Spanish and Arabic.
Protester Selma Khan, a 23-year-old graduate from York College, said she feared her sister’s husband, who is a Pakistani national, may have trouble coming to the United States in the future if the travel ban is expanded.
“It is depressing and it’s tearing families apart,” Khan said.