Massachusetts to join court battle against Trump travel ban

BOSTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Massachusetts on Tuesday plans to join a court fight against U.S. President Donald Trump's order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, a move that the state's attorney general criticized as unconstitutional.

Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, said in a posting on Twitter late on Monday that her office would join a lawsuit in federal court challenging the ban. A federal judge in Boston, home to Logan International Airport, on Saturday blocked Trump's order from being enforced for seven days.

SEE ALSO: State of Washington will be first to sue to stop Trump immigration order

"We will be joining in a lawsuit challenging Trump's immigration order," Healy said on Twitter. "What he did was unconstitutional & harmful to (Massachusetts)."

Massachusetts would be following the lead of Washington state, which said on Monday that it would be filing a lawsuit in federal court challenging the ban on constitutional grounds.

Trump's order halted travel by people with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and stopped the resettlement of refugees for 120 days. In an interview with a Christian broadcaster over the weekend, Trump said he would give preference to Syrian Christians seeking refugee status.

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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
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Protesters and lawyers welcome international travelers in airports amid immigration ban
A young girl dances with an American flag in baggage claim while women pray behind her during a protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
People chant and hold signs as they protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport International Arrivals gate in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
Lawyers and legal assistants network and use social media in the baggage claim area, amid supplies of pizza, water and other food, at Dulles International Airport, aiding passengers who have arrived and encounter problems because of Donald Trump's travel ban to the United States, in Chantilly, Virginia, in suburban Washington, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
Volunteer lawyers work in a dining area of Terminal 4 to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Lawyer Darryl Hairston works with a team of volunteer lawyers to arrange habeus corpus petitions for travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Hatfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry
Demonstrators sit inside LAX international terminal and yell slogans during protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ted Soqui
Demonstrators yell slogans during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
Women walk by a team of volunteer lawyers in their makeshift office working to assist travelers detained as part of Donald Trump's travel ban in Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
Demonstrators march and block traffic during anti-Donald Trump travel ban protests outside Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller
An international traveler smiles as she walks past the protest against the travel ban imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order, at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas, U.S. January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Laura Buckman
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold signs outside Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) protesting against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order blocking visitors from seven predominantly Muslim nations in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Court decisions temporarily blocked the U.S. administration from enforcing parts of Trump's order after a day in which students, refugees and dual citizens were stuck overseas or detained and some businesses warned employees from those countries not to risk leaving the United States. Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Protesters march during a demonstration against the immigration ban that was imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump at Los Angeles International Airport on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Thousands of protesters gathered outside of the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to denounce the travel ban imposed by President Trump. Protests are taking place at airports across the country. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators against President Donald Trump's Muslim Ban come together at 2nd Day of protests at Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California, United States on January 29, 2017. Lots of muslim people still under custody of US Custom and Border Patrol after Trumps's executive order. (Photo by Aydin Palabiyikoglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Protesters gather at the international arrivals area of the Washington Dulles International Airport on January 29, 2017, in Sterling, Virginia. US President Donald Trump issued an executive order yesterday barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of all refugees for 120 days. / AFP / Thomas WATKINS (Photo credit should read THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors crowd the sidewalks at HartsfieldJackson Atlanta International Airport to denounce US President Donald Trump's executive order, which restricts refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries in Atlanta, Georgia on January 29, 2017 / AFP / TAMI CHAPPELL (Photo credit should read TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP/Getty Images)
More than 600 people holding protests signs gathered on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 at the Boise Airport to voice opposition to President Donald Trump's recent refugee order. The protest started with a FaceBook page asking people in the area to join a nationwide movement to gather at airports. (Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: Demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 29: A police officer stands guard as demonstrators at Philadelphia International Airport protest against the executive order that President Donald Trump signed clamping down on refugee admissions and temporarily restricting travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries on January 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Demonstrators gathered at airports across the country in protest of the order. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)
Thousands turn out for a January 29th, 2017 Immigration Ban Protest at Philadelphia International Airport, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The White House has described the ban as necessary "to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States."

Thousands of people took to the streets and airports of major U.S. cities over the weekend to protest the move, which also has provoked a global backlash, including criticism from U.S. allies who view the move as discriminatory.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion.

Federal judges in five states blocked U.S. authorities over the weekend from enforcing the order.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs of Massachusetts took the strongest action by barring the detention or removal of approved refugees, visa holders and permanent U.S. residents entering from the seven countries for seven days. Her order also stopped federal officials from expelling from the country two Iranian men who teach at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. (Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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