Maine Attorney General Janet Mills was among a group of the nation’s leading Democratic legal officers who Sunday condemned President Trump’s executive order restricting refugees from entering this country for 120 days, calling it “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.”

The executive order also applies a 90-day ban on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – and an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria.

Mills signed the attorneys’ general joint statement, which was published Sunday on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s website.

“As the chief legal officers for over 130 million Americans and foreign residents of our states, we condemn President Trump’s unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful executive order and will work together to ensure the federal government obeys the Constitution, respects our history as a nation of immigrants, and does not unlawfully target anyone because of their national origin or faith,” the statement says.

“Religious liberty has been, and always will be, a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth,” the statement says. “We are confident that the executive order will ultimately be struck down by the courts. In the meantime, we are committed to working to ensure that as few people as possible suffer from the chaotic situation that it has created.”

In a telephone interview Sunday night, Mills said the president’s executive order has already had an impact in Maine. She said there are people living overseas who are waiting to come to Maine and they can’t.

“We’re not talking about people who are our enemies,” Mills said. “These are people who have been friendly to the American government.”

She also called Trump’s decision to give preference to refugees who are Christian “disturbing.” Many refugees come to America because they face religious persecution in their native country.

“That’s just unheard of, putting one religious preference over another,” Mills said.

Mills said she is concerned because Trump’s order is the kind of action that can breed radical hostility toward Americans.

“When you paint an entire group of people with the same brush, you engender hostility, not compassion,” Mills said.

Seventeen attorneys general signed the statement. The others were the attorneys general of New York, California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Virginia, Oregon, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Illinois, New Mexico, Iowa and Maryland.

The Reuters news agency reported that the attorneys general are discussing whether to challenge the Trump administration in court. Mills said they will continue to monitor the lawsuits that other individuals and organizations have filed and may intercede if they feel they can help.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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