MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker says state attorneys shouldn't intervene in a Syrian refugee's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban.
The man now lives in Wisconsin. He filed a federal lawsuit Monday challenging Trump's ban. The man contends his wife and young daughter are still in danger in Syria and Trump's order halted his efforts to bring them here.
Walker told reporters Wednesday that he didn't see a connection between the lawsuit and protecting Wisconsin residents and the state should stay out of the matter.
"What we have asked for, we being I and other governors, was making sure that under President Obama in the past and President Trump going forward the federal government has a process to ensure that people who are coming into this country and specifically into our states are safe," Walker said. "We look at the concerns of things that happened in Europe over the past several years and feel like they have not done an adequate job of ensuring the safety of their citizens."
Attorney General Brad Schimel's spokesman didn't immediately return a message. Schimel said days after the order that he would consider legal action if he felt Trump overreached his constitutional authority, or if the policy has what Schimel called a "negative impact" on Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin refugee requested anonymity to protect the safety of his wife and 3-year-old daughter, who his lawsuit says are living in hiding in Syria to avoid being raped or murdered. According to the lawsuit, the man was imprisoned and tortured in Syria before being granted asylum status in 2016. The case centers on how Trump's ban and resulting lawsuits affected the man's application to bring his family to the United States, called a derivative asylum petition.
His lawyers want to know if a temporary suspension of the ban from a federal court in Washington state applies to his case and similar cases.
"The question mark is whether or not the nationwide injunction applies to derivative asylum applications," said Vince Levy, one of the attorneys. According to the lawsuit, a leaked U.S. Customs and Immigration Services memorandum indicates that the agency does not believe the injunction extends to family members outside of the United States.
Though there are dozens of pending lawsuits related to Trump's order, Levy said he wasn't aware of any others concerning derivative asylum applications.
U.S. Circuit Court Judge William M. Conley, an Obama appointee, ordered Trump's administration to answer questions about the status of the man's application and whether the injunction applied to it by Friday at noon.