Ted S. Warren/AP

Federal Agencies Promise 'Professional, Organized' Implementation of Trump's Travel Ban

Agencies are collaborating, but many details are still unclear for Thursday’s roll out.

The Trump administration is promising an orderly implementation of the parts of the president’s travel executive order the Supreme Court on Monday allowed to move forward, looking to avoid the turbulent rollout that plagued the policy in its initial iteration.

The nation’s top court said the administration may begin blocking some immigrants from six countries from entering the United States before it hears oral arguments in October, unleashing federal agencies to quickly implement the policy. The order is expected to be implemented Thursday to give agencies 72 hours to get their plans in place.

“The implementation of the executive order will be done professionally, with clear and sufficient public notice, particularly to potentially affected travelers, and in coordination with partners in the travel industry,” the Homeland Security Department said in a statement after the court’s ruling. The order will enable agencies to “protect our nation from persons looking to enter and potentially do harm,” DHS said, adding it would work with the departments of Justice and State to coordinate forthcoming guidance.

In a presidential memorandum issued earlier this month, Trump directed leaders at State, Justice, DHS and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to “jointly begin implementation of each relevant provision” of his order “72 hours after all applicable injunctions are lifted or stayed with respect to that provision, to ensure an orderly and proper implementation of those provisions.”

Heather Nauert, a State spokeswoman, said the department will soon provide additional details to implement the policy “in an orderly fashion.”

“We will keep those traveling to the United States and partners in the travel industry informed as we implement the order in a professional, organized, and timely way,” Nauert said.

After a shaky roll out in January where agency leaders were caught off guard and employees lacked clear guidance on how to carry out the so-called travel ban, the administration promised better interagency collaboration when it unveiled a second executive order in March. Both orders were quickly paused by federal judges who said they were unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruling will allow Customs and Border Protection and other agencies to reject foreign visitors from six countries identified in the EO who do not have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

A senior DHS official said in March that one of the key differences between the initial January policy and the revised travel ban was the White House and DHS, State and Justice are now “in sync,” with “no daylight” between them. The official added the March implementation was set to be an “orderly process,” noting, “We will not see any chaos or alleged chaos."

A federal judge blocked the policy before agencies could demonstrate that progress, but they will now have the chance to put their plans in motion. The administration had planned to phase in the policy, giving travelers from Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen 10 days to enter the United States. DHS has yet to spell out details this time around. A CBP spokesman declined to elaborate on what types of training employees will receive in advance of the Thursday roll out or how that training will be delivered.

The Supreme Court also allowed Trump’s proposed 120-day refugee suspension and 50,000-cap for refugee entrants in fiscal 2017 to move forward. This will enable agencies to determine whether other countries not included in the ban are providing adequate information on visa applicants, report to Trump how to implement his call for “extreme vetting,” and force all visa renewal applicants to have in-person interviews with U.S. officials

Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the court’s decision, saying it restored a separation of powers between the executive and judiciary branches. He added it would help defend against “the threat to our national security.”

“Groups like ISIS and al Qaeda seek to sow chaos and destruction in our country, and often operate from war-torn and failed countries while leading their global terror network,” Sessions said. “It is crucial that we properly vet those seeking to come to America from these locations, and failing to do so puts us all in danger.” 

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