A judge in Los Angeles issued a temporary restraining order on Friday that prevents the government from enforcing its strict measures against travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. They include prohibiting those people from entering the United States for 90 days and preventing them from coming back for as long as two years. The order, issued by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, asked the government to produce documents that prove its case for the ban. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Friday that the Trump administration was “very much looking forward to having this taken off the books.”
According to a senior White House official, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke made the decision to take the order off the books in hopes that the courts would uphold the ban as legal. However, the official also said the government, at this point, does not have the authority to do so. White House chief of staff John Kelly, former secretary of homeland security, said the government had no intention of appealing the ruling or introducing a new iteration of the ban. He explained that in order to prevent the next attack, the measures are necessary, and the only way to get the travel restrictions ended was if it was ruled constitutional.
Update: The administration says it’s moving to amend the order to give the emergency relief for the seven targeted countries “stronger legal footing.” It is likely that a revised ban will be released soon.
On Saturday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is “working on protocols to give expedited processing to lawful permanent residents.” On Monday, Trump announced that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has concluded a review of previously implemented travel restrictions with the Homeland Security team, adding: “A new travel ban will be issued in approximately three weeks.” And late Saturday afternoon, Huckabee Sanders announced that “the refugee ban is lifted, for now,” during an off-camera press briefing, though Trump and his aides have repeatedly vowed that it would be restored “at a later date.”
The executive order, issued March 6, included a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. A temporary restraining order was issued the next day, staying the most controversial section of the order while it was being reviewed by a panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges. The order would have eliminated the possibility of future entry of Syrian refugees who are already in the United States, but exempted religious minorities from those countries.
Following the approval of the travel ban last month, the New York Times issued a travel warning for Americans traveling to the United States, to encourage all travelers to be wary. Travelers should expect long lines and waits, check official airline websites and give themselves time to get through security, “especially since long lines may be unavoidable,” and be flexible if they have to arrive at an airport at or around 6 p.m. “Even if it feels impossibly crowded, be patient — it could take an hour to get through security.”