Pres­i­dent Trump signs new anti-ter­ror travel ban,

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Ali­cia A. Cald­well and Jill Colvin

With­out WASH­ING­TON — fan­fare, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump signed a scaled-back ver­sion of his con­tro­ver­sial ban on many for­eign trav­el­ers Mon­day, hop­ing to avoid a new round of law­suits and out­rage while ful­fill­ing a cen­tral cam­paign prom­ise. His or­der still bars new visas for peo­ple from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries and tem­po­rar­ily shuts down Amer­ica’s refugee pro­gram.

The re­vised or­der, signed with none of the flour­ish of his first ver­sion, elim­i­nates some of the most con­tentious as­pects in an ef­fort to sur­mount the court chal­lenges that are sure to come. Trump’s first or­der, is­sued just a week af­ter his in­au­gu­ra­tion, was halted by fed­eral courts.

The new one leaves Iraq off the list of banned coun­tries — at the urg­ing of U.S. mil­i­tary and diplo­matic lead­ers — but still af­fects would-be vis­i­tors and im­mi­grants from Iran, Syria, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Ye­men and Libya. It also makes clear that cur­rent visa hold­ers will not be im­pacted, and it re­moves lan­guage that would give pri­or­ity to reli­gious mi­nori­ties — a pro­vi­sion some in­ter­preted as a way to help Chris­tians get into the U.S. while ex­clud­ing Mus­lims.

The or­der won’t take ef­fect un­til March 16 de­spite ear­lier warn­ings from Trump and his aides that any de­lay would put na­tional se­cu­rity at risk by al­low­ing the en­try of “bad ‘dudes’” who want to harm the coun­try.

The changes un­der­score the very dif­fer­ent po­si­tion the pres­i­dent finds him­self in.

Five weeks ago, Trump dropped the first or­der with a bang, catch­ing law­mak­ers and mem­bers of his ad­min­is­tra­tion by sur­prise. He signed the or­der in a high-pro­file cer­e­mony at the Pen­tagon’s Hall of He­roes as Sec­re­tary of De­fense Jim Mat­tis stood by.

This time around, the pres­i­dent skipped the usual pub­lic cer­e­mony al­to­gether. In­stead, the ad­min­is­tra­tion chose to have Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly, Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions serve as the pub­lic faces of the roll­out at a brief press an­nounce­ment.

“I think to­day was about the im­ple­men­ta­tion of it,” said press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer at a brief­ing off cam­era.

Le­gal ex­perts say the new or­der ad­dresses some of the con­sti­tu­tional con­cerns raised by a fed­eral ap­peals court about the ini­tial ban but leaves room for more le­gal chal­lenges.

“It’s much clearer about how it doesn’t ap­ply to groups of im­mi­grants with more clearly es­tab­lished con­sti­tu­tional rights,” said Univer­sity of Texas law pro­fes­sor Stephen Vladeck. “That’s a re­ally im­por­tant step.”

Trump of­fi­cials say the goal hasn’t changed: keep­ing would-be ter­ror­ists out of the United States while the gov­ern­ment re­views vet­ting sys­tems for refugees and visa ap­pli­cants from cer­tain parts of the world.

Tiller­son said, “It is the pres­i­dent’s solemn duty to pro­tect the Amer­i­can peo­ple, and with this or­der Pres­i­dent Trump is ex­er­cis­ing his right­ful au­thor­ity to keep our peo­ple safe.”

The orig­i­nal travel ban led to in­stant chaos at air­ports as Home­land Se­cu­rity of­fi­cials scram­bled to in­ter­pret how it was to be im­ple­mented and some trav­el­ers were de­tained be­fore be­ing sent back over­seas or blocked from get­ting on air­planes abroad. The or­der quickly be­came the sub­ject of sev­eral le­gal chal­lenges and was put on hold last month by a fed­eral judge in Wash­ing­ton state.

The pres­i­dent re­peat­edly in­sisted he would con­tinue to fight for the orig­i­nal or­der in court, even as aides worked to craft a new one.


Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son (left) and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions spoke at a brief­ing Mon­day about a re­vised ver­sion of an ex­ec­u­tive or­der on im­mi­gra­tion signed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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