US president said roll-out of ban targeting seven Muslim-majority nations had been 'very smooth,' but was scuppered by bad decision in court
President Donald Trump's administration has dropped its appeal of a court ruling that suspended his travel ban targeting refugees and seven Muslim countries, saying it will replace the measure with a modified version.
The Justice Department announced the move on Thursday in a brief filed with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. It said the new order would address complaints from a three-judge panel that parts of the order were unconstitutional.
"Rather than continuing this litigation, the President intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised Executive Order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns," the brief states.
"In so doing, the President will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," it added.
In a news conference on Thursday, Trump said his rollout of the travel ban was "very smooth," but the administration got a bad court decision. He said his new order would be written to conform to legal rulings.
"The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision," he said. "We can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more."
Trumphas said his directive, issued last month, was necessary to protect the United States from attacks by militants. It barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the country for 90 days. Refugees were banned for 120 days, except those from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.
The abrupt implementation of the order, however, plunged the immigration system into chaos, sparking a wave of criticism from targeted countries, Western allies and some of America's leading corporations, especially technology companies, which lean heavily on foreign talent.
POTUS: "We had a very smooth roll-out of the travel ban...."
This is the craziest thing I've ever seen happen in DC, by miles.
— John Schindler (@20committee) February 16, 2017
US District Judge James Robart in Seattle suspended the order nationwide after Washington state challenged its legality, eliciting a barrage of angry Twitter messages from Trump against the judge and the court system. A three-judge 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals panel last week upheld Robart's ruling.
The Justice Department court filing said Trump's order would be "substantially revised," but did not provide details. Last week, a congressional aide who asked not to be identified told Reuters that Trump might rewrite the original order to explicitly exclude green card holders, or permanent residents.
An unidentified 9th Circuit judge last week requested that the court's 25 full-time judges vote on whether that should be reconsidered by an 11-judge panel, known as en banc review.
While the Justice Department on Thursday did not seek en banc review, it did take issue with the 9th Circuit's ruling, saying "it should not remain circuit precedent," and asking that it be vacated when the president issues a new order.
In a separate court filing, the states of Washington and Minnesota said the 9th Circuit panel ruling "is firmly grounded in precedent". The appeals court should not reconsider the ruling, they said.
A poll by Pew Research Center released on Thursday shows that most Americans oppose the ban. Only 38 percent of respondents approve of it while 59 percent disapprove.
However, the issue shows clear divisions between US ethnic and religious communities. For example, only 11 percent of African Americans approve of the executive order, compared to 76 percent among white evangelical Christians.