President Trump is preparing to roll out his new version of a temporary travel ban targeting seven majority Muslim countries as early as Wednesday.
Trump’s first attempt to block travel from those countries was shot down by federal courts, prompting a fuming Trump to blast the judges who halted his ban. The White House has been reworking the order and could implement it Wednesday, according to two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to get ahead of Trump’s announcement.
Trump said his new executive order would be “very much tailored” to those rulings to ensure it passes legal muster this time. But Stephen Miller, a senior policy adviser, said last week that the new order would “have the same basic policy outcome.”
The new order was delayed as the administration sought to pursue its stated goal of suspending immigration from the seven countries because of security concerns while complying with the legal concerns raised by the judges.
District Judge James Robart in Seattle and a unanimous panel of three judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found no credible national security threat posed by refugees and other immigrants from the countries targeted in the ban.
An internal Department of Homeland Security analysis came to the same conclusion. The memo, first obtained by the Associated Press, found that relatively few people from the seven countries have carried out, or been involved in, terrorism-related activities in the US since Syria’s war started in 2011.
Trump’s ban, announced Jan. 27, temporarily barred citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian citizens indefinitely. It led to chaos at U.S. and international airports as tens of thousands of visa holders were blocked from entering the country or detained after arriving in the U.S.
Trump said a temporary ban is necessary to give his administration time to develop “extreme vetting” procedures for people coming from those terror-prone countries. His administration contends he has authority under the Constitution and congressional statutes to carry it out. They point to a 1952 law that allows a president to bar entry to immigrants or classes of immigrants if the president deems them to be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Opponents of the travel ban say it discriminates against citizens of certain countries and the Muslim religion. They point to a 1965 law that prohibits discrimination against immigrants based on their country of origin, and claim the ban violates the establishment clause of the Constitution that protects freedom of religion.
One of the options for the White House is to issue an order that allows all people from those countries who are already lawful permanent residents of the U.S. or hold valid visas to continue traveling without interruption. That way, the ban would only affect citizens of those countries who have never stepped foot on U.S. soil, which legal experts say would make the revised ban more difficult to challenge in court.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Department of Justice will engage in a “dual-track” defense strategy by continuing to defend the initial order in court while also defending the upcoming one against expected lawsuits.
Trump prepares to issue new travel ban – USA TODAY