President Donald Trump said he will sign an executive order next week that updates his contentious January 27th ban on travelers and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled to keep a stay on the president's travel ban, which has been openly opposed by leaders in the technology industry including Google and Facebook. The new executive order will address the legal pitfalls that have paused the first travel ban, Trump said at a press conference today.
"The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision," he said. "But we can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more, but we're tailoring it now to the decision."
The January 27th order places a 90-day ban on travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, halts all refugees from entering the US for 120 days, and places an indefinite ban on accepting refugees from Syria. The ban was enacted immediately, causing large-scale confusion and protests at airports, and spawning multiple lawsuits. More than 100 technology companies signed an amicus brief in support of lawsuits against the order.
State of Washington v. Donald Trump led a judge to put a stay on the travel ban. In a unanimous ruling on February 9th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Justice Department's attempt to overturn the stay.
In that hearing, Washington Solicitor General Noah Purcell argued the state had the right to sue on the grounds of proprietary harms, including lost tax revenue, and parens patriae. He also claimed the Trump administration drafted the executive order as a way to discriminate against Muslims, which would be unconstitutional. Purcell said there was "shocking evidence of intent to discriminate against Muslims" by the Trump administration, including public statements and tweets from the president and his aides.
The Justice Department argued, in part, that Trump's decision was "unreviewable" because it pertained to the president's authority to direct national security. The Ninth Circuit judges decided there was "no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability" and that this defense ran "contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy."
At today's press conference, the president maligned the court's ruling. "We're going to put in a new executive order next week some time," he said. "But we had a bad decision. That's the only thing that was wrong with the travel ban."
Trump claimed that the rollout of the travel ban was "perfect" and "very smooth." However, it led to scenes of panic at airports as travelers were detained or denied boarding their flights to the United States entirely. The State Department estimates 60,000 visas were revoked under the original ban, and that's not including refugees in the process of legally entering the US. It may have barred an additional 64,000 admitted refugees from entering the country.
The president also said today he initially wanted a one-month waiting period before the ban was implemented, but Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly advised him to enact it immediately. "And he was right," the president said.