Sensing Defeat, US Attorney Floats Travel Ban Compromise

Keep out only people who've never traveled here before, he asks judges
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2017 8:52 AM CST
Sensing Defeat, US Attorney Floats Travel Ban Compromise
Family members who have just arrived from Syria are greeted by family who live in the United States upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Feb. 6.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The three judges who grilled attorneys about President Trump's travel ban are expected to decide later this week on whether it should be put back into effect. While it's anybody's guess what they'll say, most of the coverage is focusing on how skeptical the judges seemed about the Justice Department's rationale for the executive order. In fact the department's attorney sensed that things weren't going well and thus suggested a compromise—restore part of the ban. "I'm not sure I'm convincing the court, so I want to make one really key point with regard to the injunction, and that is that it's overbroad,'' said August Flentje, per Bloomberg. He suggested reinstating the ban so that it affects only people who have never been to the US before, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Previously admitted aliens who are temporarily abroad now or who wish to travel and return to the United States in the future" would be free to come and go as they please, he said, reading from a brief. But as the New York Times notes, one of the judges, Richard Clifton, sounded skeptical that was the court's role. “Why shouldn’t we look to the executive branch to more clearly define what the order means?” he asked. And opposing attorney Noah Purcell complained that "they've changed their minds about five times" since the order was issued about its exact terms. Meanwhile, the president weighed in on Twitter Wednesday morning: “If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!” (Read more Trump travel ban stories.)

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