By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama will join a coalition of 12 states whose attorneys generals are writing a brief in support of President Donald Trump’s expanded travel ban, which has been blocked by the courts and will be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that he would be joining the coalition. The 12 states will be filing a joint amicus brief before the Supreme Court arguing that the ban, which was updated in September, should be upheld.
“The President of the United States has the constitutional authority to take steps to protect the security of American citizens,” Marshall said. “The Trump administration’s travel ban is aimed at a select few countries which present a risk to American citizens by either posing as state sponsors of terrorism or are unwilling or unable to implement proper vetting procedures to ensure their citizens are not terrorists.”
The new updated ban, which was issued Sept. 24, blocks certain immigrants and travelers from eight countries that the Trump administration has determined pose a security risk. Trump filed an initial temporary travel ban during his first week in office, but that ban was met with legal challenges that hindered its implementation. A second version was released in March, but it also faced challenges.
The previous ban included six majority-Muslim countries including Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iran. The new ban removes Sudan and adds restrictions on travelers and immigrants from Chad, Venezuela and North Korea.
Alabama and the 11 other states who joined the brief argue that the federal court has wide latitude to make necessary judgments about immigration and national security issues. Opponents of the original ban said it discriminated against Muslims because all of the states were majority Muslim. The administration argues that the new ban doesn’t discriminate against Muslims because it includes two non-Muslim countries, Venezuela and North Korea.
The updated order was blocked by a U.S. Circuit Court in Hawaii.
“No grounds here satisfy the exacting standards for showing that the Proclamation is pretext masking a religious classification,” the amicus brief reads. “The Proclamation classifies aliens according to nationality, based on concerns about the government’s ability to adequately vet and manage nationals of eight covered countries. That result is the culmination of months of review and input from numerous federal officials.”