AUGUSTA – Maine joined four other New England states Monday in urging a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling that has temporarily halted President Trump’s travel ban.

Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills signed onto the brief filed Monday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Washington state, Minnesota and Hawaii are arguing that the San Francisco-based court should allow a temporary order blocking the travel ban to stand.

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia signed onto the brief Monday. Among them are Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine.

Trump has said the aim of his Jan. 27 executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days was to prevent terrorists from slipping into the country.

Mills said she supports “the careful and detailed scrutiny of people seeking refugee status in our state in order to screen out potential ISIS sympathizers.”

She said that process already is extensive and that Trump’s executive order went too far.


“We do not support punishing people who have risked their lives to be helpful to the United States in our war against terror, arbitrarily separating people from their families and placing them in harm’s way. Nor do we support a religious test to gain entry into our county,” she said.

Mills’ decision likely won’t sit well with Republican Gov. Paul LePage. The two have clashed before, and LePage tried unsuccessfully to require the attorney general to be appointed by the governor.

Last month, Mills was among a group of the nation’s leading Democratic legal officers who condemned the executive order, issuing a joint statement that called it “unconstitutional, un-American and unlawful.”

At the time, Mills said the president’s executive order was having an impact in Maine because there were people overseas waiting to come to Maine who couldn’t.

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

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