Trump says considering ‘brand new’ immigration order

U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a translation during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, U.S., on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2017
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Trump says considering ‘brand new’ immigration order

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Friday he is considering drafting a new order to ban migrants from majority-Muslim nations after his initial decree fell afoul of the law.
Insisting that he has the law on his side despite two defeats in federal court in quick succession, Trump said security concerns may necessitate a quicker response than legal channels would allow.
“The unfortunate part is that it takes time statutorily, but we will win that battle. We also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order,” he said, adding that any action would not come before next week.
The statement represents an embarrassing climbdown for Trump, who has insisted that the order was well drafted and who has nevertheless vowed to fight on in the courts.
“We need speed for reasons of security, so it very well could be,” Trump said when asked if his plan was to have a new measure drafted.
Trump said Friday at a joint press conference with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that as president, he has learned of “tremendous threats to our country.”
“We’ll be going forward and continuing to do things to make our country safe. It will happen rapidly,” he told reporters.
“We will not allow people into our country who are looking to do harm,” he said. “We will allow lots of people into our country that will love our people and do good for our country.”

Trump’s executive order issued in late January summarily denied entry to all refugees for 120 days, and travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Refugees from Syria were blocked indefinitely.
The White House has not provided any evidence to support Trump’s view that a ban on travelers from the seven countries was urgently needed.
An appellate court decided unanimously on Thursday to maintain a block on Trump’s order put in place by a lower court judge a week before.
The debacle has raised questions about the competence of Trump’s White House in working through the practical and legal implications of the order.
The property mogul-turned-president was forced to sack the acting attorney general — an Obama administration holdover — after she refused to defend the order.
After first suggesting a quick appeal to the Supreme Court was off the table, US officials reversed course, insisting a legal challenge had not been dropped, including a possible motion to the high court.
“We’re keeping all our options open,” one official said.
Nevertheless, an appeal on the temporary freeze in the lower courts now seems unlikely.
Earlier Friday, Trump vowed to do “whatever is necessary to keep our country safe.”
“We’ll be doing something very rapidly having to do with additional security for our country. You’ll be seeing that sometime next week,” the president said.
“In addition we will continue to go through the court process, and have no doubt we’ll win that particular case,” he said.
The measure — given with no notice — set off detentions of incoming travelers, protests at airports and international condemnation until a federal judge in Seattle stepped in and suspended the order a week later.
In upholding the suspension, the US court of appeals in San Francisco said Thursday the government had provided no evidence that any alien from the countries named in the order had carried out a terrorist attack on US soil.
“We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury,” the three-judge appellate panel ruled.
Trump’s initial reaction came minutes later on Twitter: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!“
He followed up early Friday with a tweet calling the court’s ruling “a disgraceful decision!“.

 


Senior US Diplomat arrives in Pakistan amid frosty relations

Updated 25 min 34 sec ago
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Senior US Diplomat arrives in Pakistan amid frosty relations

  • The relationship between Pakistan and the United States is on a ‘slippery slope’ according to foreign-relations expert
  • Travel restrictions on diplomats likely to top the agenda

ISLAMABAD: Alice G. Wells, the US principal deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, arrived in Islamabad on April 23 to continue talks amid strained relations between the two long-time allies.
The latest trip follows her visit from March 28 to April 3, during which she met several senior federal ministers, UN representatives, National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. She also went to Karachi to meet provincial officials in Sindh.
When she arrived for this followup, she was greeted by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.
During the previous visit, discussions were held about Washington’s South Asia strategy, unveiled last year, “Pakistan’s stated commitment to eliminate all terrorist groups present within its borders,” and a “shared interest in building economic and commercial ties that benefit both nations” according to the US Embassy.
In the aftermath of the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan, Wells also noted the growing international consensus on the way forward to achieving peace in that country, and the meaningful role that Pakistan, partnering with the United States, could play in achieving that peaceful resolution.
Her latest visit is a follow-up to a series of clashes between the United States and Pakistan over growing differences that threaten decades-old relations between the countries.
The latest row erupted last week after Washington imposed “reciprocal” travel restrictions on Pakistani envoys in the US. After days of speculation, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week confirmed that US authorities had informed it that from May 1, 2018, Pakistani diplomats would be restricted in how far they can travel within the United States without official permission.
Foreign-relations expert Qamar Cheema said that “relations are on a slippery slope” and the travel restrictions will probably take center stage in this week’s meetings between Wells and Pakistani officials.
Washington remains unhappy that its efforts to stabilize Afghanistan are being hindered by Islamabad’s feeble approach to dealing with the Haqqani network of insurgents, which the US says operates from Pakistan, an assertion Islamabad has rejected as it reiterates its commitment to combating all forms of terrorism, said Cheema.
“There are concerns on Pakistan’s long-term strategy to counter terror financing, stop the rise of ISIS recruits and its activity, and its assistance with talks and negotiations with the Taliban,” Cheema added.
The latest travel restrictions are in response to Islamabad’s already imposed curbs on US diplomats, which stems from a trust deficit and a number of damaging incidents. These include the US Navy SEAL raid of 2011 that killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, which was carried out without Pakistan’s prior knowledge.
The Trump administration had warned Pakistan of “punitive measures”. The United States Bureau of Industry and Security, which works under the Department of Commerce, has placed sanctions on seven Pakistani firms purportedly engaged in nuclear trade, a move that damaged Pakistan’s attempt to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
A move co-sponsored by the US in February, meanwhile, convinced the Financial Action Task Force to place Pakistan back on its “gray list” of “jurisdictions with deficient anti-money laundering regimes.”
In January, Trump accused Islamabad of taking billions from America and in return giving “nothing but lies and deceit,” and sheltering terrorists. The US withheld $255 million from about $1 billion in assistance. The same month, Washington placed Pakistan on its “special watch list for severe violations of religious freedom.”
“Relations are hanging by a single thread and could free-fall anytime,” Cheema said, but added that the continuation of constructive interaction from both sides at least shows “the belief that cooperation and engagement is the only way forward for peace in the region.”