Trump to Replace Travel Ban Ahead of High Court Hearing

(CN) – The Trump administration will unveil stricter more tailored travel restrictions from select countries, replacing the controversial travel ban just weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide its constitutionality.

Rather than blanket prohibitions on six countries, the restrictions will vary by country, according to senior administration officials.

While specifics have yet to be unveiled, restrictions could include ban on travel for citizens travelling from certain countries, and new more robust visa restrictions likely focusing on Middle Eastern countries the Trump administration say produces terrorists.

H.R. McMaster, the National Security Advisor, told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that the administration was exploring a replacement to the controversial ban that has undergone several court challenges since Trump signed the first one a week after his inauguration.

“Well, this is something that we’re looking at, is how to protect the American people better, how to ensure that we know who these people are who are moving,” McMaster said.

McMaster referenced the recent terrorist attack in London as yet another example of how the strength of international terrorist organizations require a forceful and specified response, echoing comments made by President Donald Trump on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the attack, which injured at least 30 people

“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific,” the President tweeted on Sept. 15.

The White House did not confirm the new measures, instead issuing this statement:

“The Trump administration will ensure we only admit those who can be properly vetted and will not pose a threat to national security or public safety.”

Trump signed the initial executive order in January, which he later revised in March to temporary ban travel to nationals of six Muslim-majority nations — Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Iran and Syria.

The revised version was likewise challenged in court, with U.S. District Court Derrick Watson granting a preliminary injunction that prevented the administration from implementing the ban due to concerns over its constitutionality.

Critics of the ban say it has less to do with national security and more to do with an intent to harm Muslims, pointing to the campaign statements made by Trump and his allies, as well as statements made after Trump assumed office.

The Trump administration appealed the injunction which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit, but stayed in part by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The highest court held that the ban could be implemented unless people could prove they had a “bona fide relationship” with the United States, in the form of close relatives already living in the country on a permanent basis.

The courts fought over the definition of bona fide relationships, with the Trump administration conceding defeat on the issue, but winning the right to bar refugees who had undertaken the application process with various resettlement agencies.

The Supreme Court is slated to hear oral arguments on the travel ban on October 10.

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