A New Immigration Order May Be Coming

by Chris Tognotti
Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

According to the Associated Press, after being handed yet another unfavorable ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump is planning a new immigration order. Additional reporting from NBC News suggests that the administration is not planning to appeal the travel ban order to the Supreme Court. According to the report, the administration intends to defend the order "on its merits" ― the order is currently still embroiled in a federal court challenge in the state of Washington, which the Ninth Circuit Court waded into this week following the government's request for a stay.

What's unclear so far is whether this new potential order on immigration would supplement the travel ban, or whether this might be a sign that Trump is conceding the flaws in the original, and trying to craft a new order that will have an easier time passing constitutional muster.

If the new order were to indeed be intended as a redo, it's worth noting that there's no telling whether it would be more or less lenient than the original. On the one hand, Trump and his team could conceivable sign a slackened, less strident order that would more clearly fall within his presidential authority. On the other, he could theoretically go the opposite direction, adding more countries to the ban that have actually produced terrorist attackers within the United States, thus creating a justification for its necessity that didn't exist as originally written.

As Politico notes, Trump hinted at a redraft of the original Jan. 27 order during his joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday. "We’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country," Trump said. He specifically highlighted "extreme vetting."

As it stands now, Trump's executive order imposes a temporary ban on accepting immigrants and refugees from six majority Muslim countries ― Libya, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia ― and an indefinite ban on immigrants and refugees from Syria. No refugees from any of those nations have ever committed an attack within the United States, which has proven to be problematic for the government when the ban has gone before judges.

That's the big reason why a redraft could potentially be more exclusionary, rather than less. Including even more countries could actually help establish a national defense interest in preventing an influx of immigrants or refugees. That's still a huge outstanding question, however.