AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is openly defending President Donald Trump’s travel ban as he filed an amicus brief on Wednesday.
Paxton is showing his support for the U.S. Department of Justice’s stance behind the immigration executive order. Under the ban, Trump barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Additionally, he suspended national refugee programs.
The order hit a road block when a panel of judges with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called for restraining order on the ban and allowed previously banned travelers to enter the U.S.
In the brief, Paxton says the immigration order exercises the executive power over national security.
“The law makes it very clear that the president has discretion to protect the safety of the American people and our nation’s institutions with respect to who can come into this country,” said Paxton. “The safety of the American people and the security of our country are President Trump’s major responsibilities under the law.”
Opponents have said the ban places immigration restrictions based on nationality targeting Muslims. The brief states, classifying “aliens” is nationality-based by federal immigration law and not determined by “suspect classification.” It says if the order “expressly” targeted Muslims based on classification then they would have a stronger argument. “But the Executive Order does not do that,” states the brief.
Government lawyers argued that the ban was a “lawful exercise” of the president’s authority and that the seven countries have raised terrorism concerns. The administration said the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — have raised terrorism concerns.
A law professor says the “million-dollar question” is whether the Trump administration would appeal.