A new version of a Trump administration travel ban will be “streamlined,” U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly said on Saturday.
Kelly told the Munich Security Conference that the new order would not stop green card residency holders or travelers already on planes from entering the United States.
“I would say the president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s initial attempt to clamp down for security reasons on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and on refugees snarled to a halt amid a judicial backlash and chaos at airports.
Trump’s original order, which he said was meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days, except those from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.
Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government’s emergency appeal to lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Trump’s immigration order issued last week by a federal judge in Seattle, indicating in its opinion that Trump’s past comments about a “Muslim ban” can be used as evidence for discrimination.
The Trump administration originally said it would appeal the federal appeals court ruling, but Trump has since said he would issue a new order addressing some of the issues raised by court decisions against the ban.
Kelly said that the administration had been surprised by the ruling and would try to do better.
I “will have opportunity to work (on) a rollout plan, in particular to make sure that there’s no one in a sense caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports,” Kelly said.
Asked whether green card residency permit holders would be allowed in, Kelly said: “It’s a good assumption and, as far as the visas go, … if they’re in motion from some distant land to the United States, when they arrive they will be allowed in.”
He promised “a short phase-in period to make sure that people on the other end don’t get on airplanes. But if they’re on an airplane and inbound, they’ll be allowed to enter the country.”
The abrupt implementation of the order last month plunged the immigration system into chaos, sparking a wave of criticism from the countries affected, and from Western allies and some of America’s leading corporations, especially technology firms.
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Kevin Liffey)