US & Canada

Trump vows to win travel ban court fight

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Media captionThe US state with a deep fear of refugees

President Donald Trump has said he has "no doubt" his administration will win legal challenges to his travel ban.

But he told reporters on Air Force One he is considering a "brand new order" as his old one flounders in the courts.

The action barred entry from refugees and citizens from seven mainly Muslim countries, until it was halted a week ago by a Seattle judge.

Mr Trump could take it to the Supreme Court but there were US media reports on Friday that was not a priority.

Flying to Florida on Friday afternoon, the president told reporters: "We'll win that battle. The unfortunate part is it takes time. We'll win that battle. But we also have a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order."

It is unclear what a new order might look like. Mr Trump said it would change "very little".

On Thursday, an appeals court said the administration failed to offer "any evidence" to justify the ban, which the president says is crucial to keep the US safe from terror attacks.

In a press conference with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Mr Trump also promised to move "rapidly" to introduce "additional security" steps for the US next week.

He spoke as Virginia state lawyers argued in court that his policy "resulted from animus toward Muslims".

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Media captionHow travel ban prompted a heartfelt act of kindness

What's this Virginia case?

It is one of a dozen lawsuits now moving through the US court system against the Trump administration's policy.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's spokesman said it would be "the most in-depth examination of the merits of the arguments against the ban".

The challenge focuses on the travel restrictions imposed by the ban, rather than the four-month suspension of refugee admissions.

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But lawyers for the US government in Virginia wrote that "judicial second-guessing" amounted to "an impermissible intrusion" on Mr Trump's constitutional authority.

US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema said federal government lawyers needed to come up with better evidence to explain why the seven countries posed a threat.

"You haven't given us any evidence whatsoever," she said.

The judge hearing the case was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

What happened on Thursday?

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it would not block a ruling by a Seattle court a week ago that halted Mr Trump's 27 January executive order.

The San Francisco-based court's three judges unanimously agreed that the government had not proved that any terror threat justified reviving the ban.

It means visa holders from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can continue to enter the US, and refugees from around the world, who were also subject to a temporary ban, are no longer blocked either.

But the ruling does not affect one part of Mr Trump's controversial executive order: a cap of 50,000 refugees to be admitted in the current fiscal year, down from the ceiling of 110,000 established under Barack Obama.

What was the reaction?

On Friday morning, Mr Trump was still fuming about the ruling, calling it "a disgraceful decision!"

But it is not clear if he intends to ask the US justice department to file an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court, or keep battling in the lower courts.

Mr Trump is currently trying to fill a vacancy on the nine-seat bench of the highest court in the land, which is seen as ideologically split 4-4.

Republicans said Thursday's ruling was to be expected from a court perceived to be liberal-leaning.

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Media captionOnce opposed to Trump, these New Hampshire women now support him

Some legal commentators criticised the decision's lack of comment on a 1952 law giving the president power to suspend entry of "any class of aliens" when he finds their entry "would be detrimental" to the country.

However, the law was revised in 1965 to stipulate that immigrants could not be denied a visa because of their race, sex, nationality or place of birth.

More on the Trump travel ban

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Media captionMuslim students on Trump ban: 'I don't belong here'