A coalition of 12 state attorneys general and one governor on Monday filed a brief with a federal appeals court defending President Donald Trump"s ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, The Hill reported.
The filing says that Trump"s executive order regarding immigration and refugees is a legal action within his presidential powers.
"Congress delegated to the Executive Branch significant authority to prohibit aliens" entry into the country, and the challenged Executive Order is a lawful exercise of that authority," the brief filed Monday in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, reads.
"The Executive Order is not a pretext for religious discrimination, as the Order is grounded in national-security concerns and classifies aliens according to nationality — not religion," it adds.
The filing includes the attorneys general of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed onto it as well.
Earlier this month, a federal judge in Hawaii placed a nationwide block on Trump"s revised travel order, just hours before it was set to go into effect. A judge in Maryland issued a similar order.
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week announced it had scheduled a May 8 hearing for the government"s appeal of the court order blocking the ban.
Trump decided to appeal Maryland"s order so his administration"s appeal will happen in the 4th Circuit Court covering the state, according to The Hill.
Trump"s revised order places a 90-day freeze on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, but it no longer impacts Iraqis as the original did.
The order is temporary, until proper vetting procedures – a central campaign promise of Trump"s – can be implemented.