(WASHINGTON FREE BEACON) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading a coalition of 16 states in support of President Trump’s travel ban targeting six Muslim majority countries, accused courts that halted the executive order of a hypocritical interpretation of the president’s role in determining who enters the country.
Texas was the first state to try to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees there by suing the federal government and earlier this year opting out of the program entirely. Texas Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, said they were worried about the security issues the refugees pose because the Obama administration refused to disclose information about its process of vetting the refugees to state and local officials.
“Maybe they were doing extreme vetting but what good is it to us when they won’t share” the information gathered in the vetting process with state officials, Paxton told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview this week.
“So we didn’t know who to worry about and who not to so we sued over it and were told that this is the purview of the federal government and the president, and now that there’s a different president suddenly it seems to be a problem for the courts” that determining who enters the country is a presidential function, he said.
Paxton also stressed that Trump’s travel ban relates to seven countries officially designated as terrorist hotbeds in a law Obama signed in December 2015. That law contains language that placed new limits on travel to the United States for people who had lived in or visited Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011.
They no longer could enter the United States without a visa in the visa-waiver program, which allows 90-day states for citizens of certain countries. The Homeland Security Department quickly expanded the law to include Libya, Somalia and Yemen in the definition of “countries of concern.”
“So remember, it was Obama who actually made this list, and it wasn’t a problem until Democratic attorneys general started suing in the 9th and 4th circuits” to stop Trump from expanding the restriction to become a temporary pause, instead of a normal visa application process, he said.
The Supreme Court is expected to take up the issue later this year.
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