Trump wants ‘expedited hearing’ on ‘watered down travel ban’

June 5 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Monday denounced the Justice Department’s “watered down travel ban” and called for an “expedited hearing” before the Supreme Court.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Trump said his Department of Justice should have continued to seek approval for his original executive order on immigration instead of the “politically correct version” submitted to the Supreme Court.

In January, Trump signed an executive order temporarily blocking refugees from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. That order was blocked by a federal judge, and in March, Trump signed a revised version of the ban.

Trump also seemingly put to rest a debate on what his executive order should be called, particularly after his administration insisted it is not a travel ban. White House press secretary Sean Spicer previously said the order is “not a travel ban,” adding that “when we use words like travel ban, that misrepresents what it is.”

“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Trump said in the first tweet.

“The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.,” Trump added.

Trump’s executive order on immigration is headed to the highest court after the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 25 upheld a lower court ruling that blocked the implementation of Trump’s order. In March, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked Trump’s revised ban, ruling it likely violated the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.

But Trump suggested moving through the Supreme Court process quickly and seeking a stronger version of the order, though he did not detail specifically what the new order would authorize.

“The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – seek much tougher version!” Trump tweeted.

“In any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe. The courts are slow and political!” Trump concluded.

Trump previously said his second order, signed March 6, was a “watered down” version of the first, crafted to withstand the legal challenges that prompted the first order to be struck down — specifically, that it applied a religious test to those seeking to enter the United States.

In the revised order, the Trump administration pointed out that the ban applied to people of all religions in the affected countries, not just Muslims. The administration also argued the order did not create a religious test because the total number of Muslims affected by the ban amounted to about 9 percent of the world’s Muslim population.

The president’s revised order seeks to ban travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for at least 90 days, and temporarily halt all refugee applications for 120 days. Trump has said that the suspensions allow much-needed time to review the nation’s immigration and refugee evaluation procedures to ensure potential terrorists aren’t allowed to enter the country.

Trump’s revised order dropped some of the most controversial elements of the first one. It removed Iraq from the list of nations excluded from immigration after the military said it threatened to sour relations with the country, which is leading efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq with the support of a U.S.-led international coalition.

It also dropped language that would have given Christians in affected countries the first opportunity to apply for visas and refugee status — which further opened the administration to charges of religious discrimination — and added language to make clear that existing green card and visa holders are exempt, which was a point of confusion during the rollout of the first order.

When the first order was signed in January, it led to chaotic scenes at some U.S. airports, as families of those traveling from the prohibited countries were left without answers about when — or if — their loved ones would be let into the country.


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