Trump mulls over new order to replace travel ban

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump is considering a new order to replace his soon-to-expire travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that would be tailored on a country-by-country basis to protect the United States from attacks.

US officials said that with the current ban on people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen due to expire today, Mr Trump has been given recommendations by Ms Elaine Duke, the acting homeland security secretary, but has not yet made a decision on the details of any new order.

Mr Miles Taylor, counsellor to Ms Duke, yesterday said she has recommended to Mr Trump "actions that are tough and that are tailored, including travel restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries".

Mr Taylor declined to say which or how many countries would be targeted, including the status of the six countries covered by the current ban.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said that while "we can't get into decision-making", the next step will be a presidential proclamation setting out the new policy. He declined to say when that would come, including whether the President would act before the existing ban expires.

Mr Trump's six-nation travel ban was laid out in a March 6 executive order that was blocked by federal courts before being allowed to go into effect with some limits by the Supreme Court in June.

The legal question of whether the existing ban discriminates against Muslims in violation of the US Constitution, as lower courts previously ruled, will be argued before the Supreme Court on Oct 10.

The expiring ban also locked out most aspiring refugees for 120 days to give Mr Trump's administration time to conduct a worldwide review of vetting procedures for foreign visitors.

Under the recommendations Mr Trump is weighing, there would be restrictions on entry that differ by nation, based on cooperation with American security mandates, the threat the US believes each country presents and other variables, Mr Taylor said.

He did not give details on the nature of the restrictions, but said that after being imposed they could be lifted "if conditions change".

Mr Taylor also said officials in July notified every foreign government of requirements for the minimum cooperation the US needs to validate traveller identities to ensure they do not represent a national security threat. Most countries met those requirements or agreed to work towards meeting them, Mr Taylor added.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'Trump mulls over new order to replace travel ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe