Texas and officials with 15 other states filed briefs with the Supreme Court on Monday asking the justices to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban policy, saying they’re convinced it’s both legal and justified.
The states said Mr. Trump has broad powers under the law to decide whom to admit, and said U.S. law is replete with examples of the government singling out groups for different treatment in immigration contexts.
The states also said courts should be wary of extending the full array of constitutional rights, including entry to the U.S., to foreigners living outside the country.
And pushing back against lower courts that have identified Mr. Trump’s policy as a “Muslim ban,” the states said that’s a striking misreading of the president’s orders.
“The Executive Order classifies aliens by nationality — not religion. The Order’s temporary pause in entry by nationals from six countries and in the refugee program neither mentions any religion nor depends on whether affected aliens are Muslim,” the states said. “The Executive Order therefore is emphatically not a ‘Muslim ban.’”
In addition to Texas, the states that signed the brief are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant also signed the brief.
Lower courts have halted Mr. Trump’s policy. Last week, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to take the case and lift the injunctions, allowing the president’s extreme vetting policy to take effect again.
Mr. Trump’s updated executive order issued in March would create a 90-day halt on many admissions from six terrorist-connected countries identified by Congress and the Obama administration: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The order also imposes a 120-day pause on admission of refugees.