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Virginia AG: New Trump travel ban admits original was flawed

(AP) The Trump administration’s revised travel ban is an “incredible concession” and a tacit admission that the original ban was constitutionally flawed, Virginia’s attorney general said Monday.

President Donald Trump issued a new executive order Monday restricting travel from six majority-Muslim countries.

It significantly scales back an earlier order that prompted judicial intervention barring its implementation. In the new order, the list of affected nations no longer includes Iraq, and it no longer seeks to cancel tens of thousands of existing visas.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, is one of several attorneys general who sued to stop the ban. He said his office is reviewing its legal response in its lawsuit against the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

He said that while the new order “appears to be significantly scaled back, it still sends a horrible message to the world.”

In a court filing Monday in Alexandria, Justice Department lawyers argued that the new emergency order is narrowly tailored and no longer requires a judge to issue any kind of emergency rulings. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema last month issued a preliminary injunction against the travel ban, ruling that there was significant evidence to suggest the ban was rooted in religious discrimination. Brinkema’s ruling came after a federal appeals court blocked implementation of the travel ban on a national basis.

Hassan Ahmad, an immigration lawyer with the Dulles Justice Coalition, said the new executive order is “a different shade of lipstick on the same pig.”

After the first travel ban was issued, the coalition formed as a way to try to provide legal support to travelers who might need it as they pass through customs at Dulles International Airport.

Ahmad said that while the new ban applies to fewer people, he noted that an accompanying memo from the White House to executive agencies calls for the Department of Homeland security and other agencies “to rigorously enforce all existing grounds of inadmissibility.” As a result, he said, travelers may still need legal assistance, and the volunteer efforts at the airport will continue.

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