A coalition of 12 state attorneys general and one governor has filed a brief with a federal appeals court defending President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE’s ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations.
The group’s filing argues Trump’s executive order regarding immigration and refugees is a legal action within his presidential powers, the Dallas Morning News said Monday.
“Congress delegated to the Executive Branch significant authority to prohibit aliens’ entry into the country, and the challenged Executive Order is a lawful exercise of that authority,” the brief filed Monday in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., reads.
“The Executive Order is not a pretext for religious discrimination, as the Order is grounded in national-security concerns and classifies aliens according to nationality — not religion.”
The filing includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R).
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week announced it had scheduled a May 8 hearing for the government’s appeal of a lower court’s order blocking Trump’s travel ban.
District judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued separate orders earlier this month blocking Trump’s order hours before it would have taken effect.
Trump decided to appeal Maryland’s order so his administration’s appeal will happen in the 4th Circuit Court covering the state.
Trump’s revised order places a 90-day freeze on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, but it no longer impacts Iraqis as the original edition did.
The revised measure also freezes all general refugee admissions into the U.S. for 120 days but no longer features preferential language for religious minorities once the refugee program resumes.
Critics say both versions of Trump’s executive order are unconstitutional and biased against Muslims, while the president counters they protect national security from radical Islamic terrorism.