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Connecticut Institutions Harmed By Travel Ban, Says Attorney General Jepsen

Ryan Caron King
Attorney General George Jepsen

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said state businesses and institutions are being harmed by the Trump administration’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The state has signed an amicus brief in support of a legal challenge to the order. 

Connecticut joins as many as 16 states signing onto the brief, in support of a case brought by Minnesota and Washington.

The brief argues that the executive order is illegal under a 1965 law that bans discrimination on the basis of national origin. It also says the order is unconstitutional because it discriminates against Muslims.

Jepsen said Connecticut hasn’t been on the front lines of this crisis yet, because Bradley International Airport was not affected.

But it’s still harmed by any ban.

"We’ve reached out to businesses. We’ve reached out to universities and health care institutions, and we have identified over 100 people who would be affected, and their travel plans could be disrupted," he told WNPR.

It’s not unusual for state attorneys general to challenge presidential executive orders, but Jepsen said this administration looks likely to clash with the states on many high profile issues.

"If President Trump continues on his announced courses of action in a wide range of areas, whether it’s the environment, or women’s reproductive freedom, or other forms of civil rights cases, gun safety law -- we’ll probably be in court quite a bit," he said.

It’s not all conflict. One issue where Jepsen may make common cause with the Trump administration could be drug pricing, where he’s encouraged to see the president’s pressure on pharmaceutical companies.

But in general, Jepsen is not impressed with Trump’s first two weeks.

"I do respect the office. I’ve never questioned his legitimacy as president," he said. "I don’t think he is respectful of the institutions, whether it is government institutions or the free press, that make a democracy function effectively, and I think he -- from a temperament standpoint -- has demonstrated time and again that he’s just incapable of having a civil dialogue."

Oral arguments in the travel ban case were scheduled for late Tuesday. A livestream of the proceeding is available here starting at 6:00 pm ET.

Harriet Jones is Managing Editor for Connecticut Public Radio, overseeing the coverage of daily stories from our busy newsroom.

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