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White House: All Options Considered to Blunt Ruling Thwarting Immigrant Travel Ban

  • VOA Staff

Senior White House Advisor Stephen Miller waits to go on the air in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, Feb. 12, 2017.

A key aide to U.S. President Donald Trump said Sunday the White House is considering "all of our options" in an effort to blunt a court ruling freezing Trump's order to ban travel from seven majority-Muslim countries and block refugees from entering the United States.

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said the three-week-old Trump administration is "pursuing every single possible action to keep our country safe from terrorism." Trump's 31-year-old aide told NBC's Meet the Press that he believes the president has the right to decide who can enter the U.S. and that officials chose the seven countries "based upon the threat they assess today and in the future."

Miller said the Trump administration recognizes the equality of the three branches of the U.S. government — the White House, the court system and Congress. But Miller said there is "no such thing as judicial supremacy."

Security officers are seen outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco, Feb. 9, 2017.
Security officers are seen outside the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals building in San Francisco, Feb. 9, 2017.

"A district judge in Seattle cannot make immigration law for the United States," Miller said, referring to the decision that blocked Trump's travel ban, which subsequently was upheld last week by a three-judge appellate panel. Miller, who played a key role in drafting the ban, said he does not believe the judge can give foreign nationals immigration rights or keep Trump from stopping refugees from entering the United States.

"No foreign national ... has a constitutional right to enter our country," Miller said.

Trump, as he headed Friday to Florida for a weekend visit at his oceanfront Mar-a-Lago retreat with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he is considering a "brand new order" on immigration after the appellate court unanimously ruled against him. He told reporters that a new executive order could be issued as soon as Monday or Tuesday.

Trump said such a move might be faster than defending his blocked executive order in a further court appeal. "We need speed for reasons of security," he said, although White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said an appeal of the appellate was still under consideration.

The president said in Twitter comments over the weekend that since the initial court ruling against him February 3,72 percent of the refugees admitted into U.S. are from the seven countries where he imposed the travel ban, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen.

"Our legal system is broken! SO DANGEROUS!" he said.

Trump, who frequently watches his aides on television news shows to see how well they handle reporters' questions, said after Miller spoke, "Congratulations Stephen Miller — on representing me this morning on the various Sunday morning shows. Great job!"

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