WASHINGTON – Texas on Wednesday became the only state to support President Donald Trump’s hotly debated travel ban.
The state filed a brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to lift a restraining order blocking the ban nationwide.
“Congress has delegated to the Executive Branch significant authority to prohibit aliens from entering the country, and the challenged Executive Order is a lawful exercise of that authority,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote in the 37-page brief.
“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,” Paxton wrote. “The safety of the American people and the security of our country are President Trump’s major responsibilities under the law.”
Texas denied that the ban targeting seven predominantly Muslim countries and refugees worldwide is an “obvious pretext” for religious discrimination against Muslims.
Paxton asked a three-judge panel of the appeals court to reinstate the ban. Last Thursday the judges unanimously refused a Justice Department request to reconsider its decision not to reinstate the ban immediately.
The 9th Circuit is weighing whether to have an 11-judge panel from the circuit to reconsider that three-judge panel’s decision. The decision upheld the nationwide suspension of the ban imposed by U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle in a suit challenging the ban filed by Washington state and Minnesota.
Eighteen states and Washington, D.C., have filed briefs with the 9th Circuit opposing the travel ban, and 15 states led by New York filed a brief arguing the ban is unconstitutional.
Trump’s order barred citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.
The president has repeatedly called the travel ban necessary to protect the United States from terrorist attacks.