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Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

This post has been updated.

Amidst a legal battle between the state of Texas and the federal government over refugee resettlement, two Syrian refugee families arrived in the state on Monday.

Lucy Carrigan, a spokeswoman for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the nonprofit aid group that facilitated one the family's arrival, told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the family had landed in Dallas on Monday.

"They seem very happy," Carrigan told NBC. "And it was almost like breathing a sigh of relief that they have arrived. This has been a long journey for them, and it's been a long journey for a lot of Syrian refugees."

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While defending Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims visiting the United States during a debate with CNN's S.E. Cupp, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson dismissed Cupp's assertion that a ban on all Muslims goes too far.

Pierson told CNN that Trump's plan is "nothing new" because U.S. law already prevents individuals from nations hostile to the U.S. from entering the country. Cupp disagreed.

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has approved a plan for law enforcement officers in the state to work with newly resettled Syrian refugees in an attempt to help them assimilate, the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Monday.

Utah Department of Public Safety Commissioner Keith Squires told the Tribune that he would like law enforcement officers to help Syrians feel welcomed, rather than feel isolated.

"Just some things that are also proactive and helpful for someone who is coming here from somewhere else," he told the Tribune of his plans.

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Catholic Charities moved forward with its plans to settle Syrian refugees in the state on Monday, despite calls from Gov. Mike Pence (R) to keep refugees from Syria out of the state, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin announced in a Tuesday statement that the family arrived in Indianapolis on Monday night.

Pence and the archbishop had been at odds over the archdiocese's decision to allow Catholic Charities to resettle a Syrian refugee family in the state even though the governor had ordered state agencies to suspend aid to refugees from Syria in November. The governor asked Catholic Charities to reroute the Syrian refugee family headed for Indiana and met with Tobin last week to discuss the archdiocese's plans.

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Donald Trump announced his proposal to ban Muslims from traveling to the United States just a few hours after a new poll showed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) leading the real estate mogul in Iowa, sparking speculation that Trump released the plan as a reaction to a slump in the polls.

A Monmouth University poll released on Monday showed showed Cruz earning 24 percent of Iowa Republicans' support and Trump earning 19 percent support. Other recent Iowa polls showed Trump maintaining the lead he has enjoyed there for months.

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As Donald Trump blanketed the airwaves defending his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, he frequently stumbled when asked for concrete details of how such a ban would work.

How, for instance, would customs officials identify people as Muslim? Just ask them, Trump said.

Would the ban apply to U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. from abroad? At first his campaign said yes, it would. But Trump himself later seemed to indicate it would not.

Would there by any other exceptions? That appeared to be a work in progress, with Trump exempting certain subcategories of Muslims as interviewers pressed him.

The shoot-from-the-hip-first-and-ask-questions-later approach was typical Trump. Leaders lead. Details are for pedants. But it was particularly discordant as most of the political world recoiled over Trump's most xenophobic pander yet.

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MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough cut to commercial in the middle of a phone interview with Donald Trump on Monday morning when the Republican presidential candidate would not stop talking to let Scarborough ask a question.

"You’ve got to let us ask questions, you can’t just talk," Scarborough told Trump.

"Joe, I’m not just talking," Trump responded.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Monday challenged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to take a stand against Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.

When asked if he would support such a ban on Monday, Cruz replied, "No, that is not my policy," but did not criticize Trump, according to the Texas Tribune.

"I believe the focus should focus on radical Islamic terrorism, and we need to be directly focused on threats to the United States," he continued. "We need a commander in chief that perceives what the threat is and that targets all of our resources to protecting this nation against radical Islamic terrorism."

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Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Monday night grilled Donald Trump on his new proposal to ban all Muslims from immigrating the United States, but the real estate mogul defended his plan.

She asked Trump if the ban would apply to Muslim-American military members returning from overseas.

"They’ll come home. And we have to be vigilant. And we have to take care of the Muslims that are living here, but we have to be vigilant," Trump responded.

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A federal judge said on Monday that he will not hold a hearing this week on Texas' lawsuit against the federal government and a nonprofit refugee aid group, the ACLU of Texas told the Dallas Morning News.

"The court held an informal status conference by telephone with parties today, and there will be no hearing on Texas’s motion for preliminary injunction this week," Rebecca L. Robertson, the ACLU of Texas' policy and legal director, said in a statement.

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