Donald Trump has advocated a hardline immigration agenda during his first six months in office. But, after signing executive orders to defund sanctuary cities and to place a temporary travel ban on refugees entering the U.S., the president has quickly learned that some liberal judges on federal circuit courts are willing to blur politics and the law in order to rule against the administration and block its agenda.
Meanwhile, as federal judges continue to limit federal immigration policy, the Trump administration has come to rely on Republican state attorneys general to take a stand at the state level. Indeed, many of them are spearheading their own legal fights against lax immigration policies, particularly with sanctuary cities and the temporary travel ban.
“The Trump administration is slowly understanding the benefits they can get from working with Republican attorneys general across the country,” Louisiana attorney general Jeff Landry tells National Review. Trump needs these diligent officials to ensure that his agenda becomes reality. They are some of his most important allies.
On June 6, for example, Landry joined Texas attorney general Ken Paxton and signatories representing 14 other states in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court; the coalition argued in support of Trump’s temporary travel ban. Trump seeks, among other travel restrictions, to suspend admission of all refugees to the country for 120 days, cap the number of refugees in fiscal year 2017 at 50,000, and not allow anyone to enter the U.S. from the six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen —deemed “countries of concern” in the fight against terrorism.
“The States have a significant interest in protecting their residents’ safety,” Paxton and his coalition wrote in the amicus brief. And since “the President’s power to limit alien admission is authorized, not only by §1182(f), but also by” the Immigration and Nationality Act’s “separate delegation to the President of power to control refugee admissions,” each state “must generally rely on the federal government to set the terms and conditions for whether aliens may enter the States.”
Paxton tells National Review that he and his colleagues are in support of Trump’s travel ban because they “are about defending the law” in light of President Obama’s eight-year assault on the Constitution. “Had Donald Trump not won the election and appointed Neil Gorsuch” to the Supreme Court, Paxton adds, “we would be in post-constitutional America.”