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Donald Trump

Trump considers new order to replace expiring travel ban

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 September, 2017, 4:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 September, 2017, 4:48am

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 on Friday.

With the current ban on people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen due to expire on Sunday, Trump was given recommendations by Elaine Duke, the acting homeland security secretary, but has not yet made a decision on the details of any new order, the officials told reporters.

Miles Taylor, counsellor to Duke, said she recommended to Trump “actions that are tough and that are tailored, including travel restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries.” 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.

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 US Supreme Court in June.

The March travel ban and an earlier January one that targeted the same six countries as well as Iraq are some of the most controversial actions taken by Trump since assuming office in January.

Critics have called the policy an unlawful “Muslim ban,” accusing the Republican president of discriminating against Muslims in violation of constitutional guarantees of religious liberty and equal protection under the law, breaking existing US immigration law, and stoking religious hatred.

Trump has defended the travel ban and has promised that “radical Islamic terrorism” will be “eradicated.”

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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 October 10. Officials declined to say how the proposed change in policy could affect the upcoming Supreme Court case.

The expiring ban blocked entry into the United States by people from the six countries and locked out most aspiring refugees for 120 days to give Trump’s administration time to conduct a worldwide review of US vetting procedures for foreign visitors. The existing refugee ban expires on October 24.

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