World

Trump administration alters travel ban start date

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration moved to amend the starting date of its proposed 90-day travel ban on people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries in a bid to keep its legal battle alive.

The amendment appears intended to avoid the administration's legal case at the US Supreme Court becoming moot on grounds that parts of the executive order have expired.

Challengers to the ban, who say the order is intended to discriminate against Muslims, have said in court papers that it should have expired on Wednesday, 90 days after the executive order was due to take effect on March 16.

A memo issued by the White House, as the Supreme Court considered two challenges to the ban, said parts of the order put on hold would not expire before they can go into effect, and the start date would be when court injunctions were lifted.

The move is part of administration's efforts to have the high court rule that the controversial ban should immediately go into effect after Mr Trump's first attempts to impose travel restrictions were blocked by lower courts.

Mr Omar Jadwat, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged the ban, said the need for the revision was a sign of the ban's legal flaws.

"And yet again, these revisions underline that the one thing the president has consistently wanted throughout is a Muslim ban," he added.

Lawsuits by Hawaii and Maryland challengers argued that the order violated federal immigration law and a section of the Constitution's First Amendment, which prohibits the government favouring or disfavouring any particular religion. - REUTERS

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