President Trump said Thursday he will issue a new executive order on extreme vetting that will tailor his immigration policy to comply with adverse rulings from federal courts, insisting he’ll be able to “get just about everything” done that he’d intended with new, scaled-down guidelines.
The Justice Department filed new briefs in the federal appeals court saying it wants to cut short the ongoing case and have the judges instead consider the new order Mr. Trump will release next week.
Mr. Trump said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals got its ruling wrong, and he said the circuit “is in chaos,” pointing to its poor rate of reversals in the Supreme Court. But Mr. Trump said he’ll work to fit his next order into their strictures.
“We can tailor the order to that decision and get just about everything, in some ways more,” he said during a wide-ranging White House press conference Thursday.
Mr. Trump also said he will “show great heart” in dealing with illegal immigrant Dreamers, saying they are among the toughest decisions he has to make as he tries to formulate his immigration policy.
“I find it very, very hard doing what the law says to do,” he said, referring to the penalties that generally call for expulsion of those who entered the country illegally.
Some 750,000 people have been approved for tentative legal status under President Obama’s 2012 deportation amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Immigrant-rights advocates have said a major test for Mr. Trump will be whether he revokes that 2012 policy, and how he treats the people who were approved under it.
“We’re gonna deal with DACA with heart,” Mr. Trump insisted.
Immigration agents put that to the test over the last week when they arrested a DACA recipient in Washington state. The agents say the 23-year-old man has gang ties, which would make him not only ineligible for DACA but also a priority for deportation.
His lawyers say the gang accusation is false, and immigrant-rights groups said Mr. Trump’s promises of “heart” were belied by his January executive order setting broader priorities for deportation agents.
“Donald Trump can’t truly love immigrant youth while terrorizing our parents and entire community,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, a DACA recipient who’s also advocacy director at United We Dream, the leading group for Dreamers.
As for Mr. Trump’s executive order, he promised a rewrite that he said would assuage the concerns of the 9th Circuit, which had upheld a blockade on his initial version.
That policy, announced Jan. 27, halted both the refugee program and regular admissions from seven terrorist-connected countries. First a lower-court judge, and then a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, ruled that Mr. Trump was likely overstepping his powers, and put his plans on hold.
The courts said immigrants — including legal permanent residents, visitors and even illegal immigrants — had rights to travel and to have their relatives come see them, and those rights were trampled by the executive order.
In its new court filing Thursday, the Justice Department said Mr. Trump’s order is chiefly meant to go after those who’ve never come to the U.S. and who, under federal laws, have no right to demand entry.
The 9th Circuit is deciding whether to send the case to what’s known as an en banc review, which would have a broader panel re-decide the ruling issued last week by the three-judge panel.
The Justice Department urged the judges to hold off until Mr. Trump issues his new policy.
“Rather than continuing this litigation, the president intends in the near future to rescind the Order and replace it with a new, substantially revised executive order to eliminate what the panel erroneously thought were constitutional concerns,” the lawyers wrote in a brief filed in court Thursday.