Trump may sign new travel order

US President Donald Trump holds a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on Feb 10, 2017.
US President Donald Trump holds a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on Feb 10, 2017. PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump has vowed to order new security measures by this week intended to stop terrorists from entering the United States, even as aides debated whether to ask the Supreme Court to reinstate his original travel ban that has been blocked by lower courts.

A day after a three-judge panel rebuffed him, Mr Trump said on Friday he might sign "a brand new order" as early as tomorrow that would be aimed at accomplishing the same purpose but, presumably, with a stronger legal basis.

While he vowed to keep fighting for the original order in court, he indicated that he would not wait for the process to play out to take action.

"We will win that battle," he told reporters on Air Force One as he flew to Florida for a weekend golf outing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Yet noting that it most likely would not happen quickly, he also raised the possibility of "a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order".

  • TRUMP'S TRAVEL BAN

  • Jan 27: US President Donald Trump issues an executive order suspending travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugee admissions for 120 days.

    Jan 28: A federal judge in New York issues an emergency stay, stopping the deportation and detention of travellers at airports.

    Jan 29: Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issues a waiver for permanent residents.

    Jan 30: The state of Washington sues the Trump administration in federal court, asking for a nationwide restraining order against the ban.

    Feb 1: Four more states and multiple individuals sue Mr Trump, with about 20 cases by Feb 10.

    Feb 3: A Washington district court judge suspends the ban nationwide, facilitating the resumption of travel from affected countries.

    Feb 4: The Justice Department asks a federal appeals court for an emergency ruling to overturn the Washington decision; the request is denied.

    Feb 7: The appeals court hears arguments on the travel restrictions from lawyers representing Washington state and the government.

    Feb 9: The appeals court declines to block the restraining order; Mr Trump tweets: "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!"

Asked if he would do that, Mr Trump said: "We need speed for reasons of security, so it very well could be."

The President's pivot represented a short-term tactical retreat even as he insisted that he would prevail in the long run.

The battle over his order, which suspended refugee flows and temporarily blocked visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, has come to define Mr Trump's weeks-old presidency at home and abroad, and has tested his capacity to impose his will on a political and legal system that he has vowed to master but which has resisted his demands.

He typically prefers a fight, but drafting a new order would acknowledge that sometimes a president must find other ways to proceed.

Asked to describe what he had in mind for a new executive order, he said: "We're going to have very, very strong vetting. I call it extreme vetting and we're going very strong on security. We are going to have people coming to our country that want to be here for good reason."

White House officials denied news reports that the President would not appeal the case to the Supreme Court. "All options remain on the table," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

A new version of the executive order would amount to a tacit admission that the administration would not be able to quickly or easily overturn the decision issued on Thursday by a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

A new version of the executive order would amount to a tacit admission that the administration would not be able to quickly or easily overturn the decision issued on Thursday by a panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Even some conservative lawyers allied with the White House said there was little chance of prevailing right away with the Supreme Court, which is divided along ideological lines with a seat vacant.

In his weekly address, Mr Trump told Americans he was "committed to your security" and would not be deterred by criticism of his order. "We will not allow our generous system of immigration to be turned against us as a tool for terrorism and truly bad people," he said.

Meanwhile, the US immigration authorities arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants in at least a half-dozen states last week, in a series of raids that marked the first large-scale enforcement of Mr Trump's Jan 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally.

The raids in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina, which officials said targeted known criminals, also netted some immigrants who did not have criminal records, an apparent departure from enforcement waves during former president Barack Obama's administration that aimed to just corral and deport those who had committed crimes.

NYTIMES, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 12, 2017, with the headline 'Trump may sign new travel order'. Print Edition | Subscribe