Port of Seattle Becomes First Port in the Country to Oppose Trump’s Travel Ban in Court

Hundreds of people protested Trumps travel ban at Sea-Tac Airport in January.

Hundreds of people protested Trump’s travel ban at Sea-Tac Airport in January. Charles Mudede

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Back in January, hundreds of people showed up at Sea-Tac Airport to protest detentions resulting from the Trump administration’s travel ban. Port officials, however, caught flak for requesting that Link light rail stop service to the airport because of “public safety” concerns.

Eight months later, it looks like the Port of Seattle is joining the resistance. On Wednesday, the Port of Seattle became the first port in the country to file a brief in support of the case urging the Supreme Court to continue blocking Trump’s travel ban from going into effect.

As for the protests in January, it appears that those made at least one tangible impact: In its brief, the port cited the detentions and protests in January as one reason Trump’s executive order should be halted.

“Major international airports like Sea-Tac Airport had to manage the sensitive issues arising from the detainment of numerous travelers,” the brief reads, “including connecting such individuals with appropriate legal assistance, ensuring compliance with legal mandates, and maintaining the daily functioning of a major international airport amid an influx of affected families, attorneys, and protestors.”

The brief continues: “At one point, a Port commissioner at the gate of a departing airline worked to facilitate conversations between legal representatives, federal agencies, and a district court judge about whether two travelers would be detained, allowed to enter the country, or sent back to the countries they had just left.”

Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, also an attorney for Microsoft, called the court filing “a moral and economic obligation” in a statement.

The other prong of the port’s argument deals with economics. In 2015, for example, Emirates Airline started running a second non-stop flight between Dubai and Seattle, a move that generated an estimated $75 million for the port. But in April, Emirates dropped the flight, citing Trump’s executive order as a contributing factor.

The Supreme Court agreed to examine the injunction on Trump’s travel ban in late June. Oral arguments in the Supreme Court are expected to begin in October.

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