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Groups Plan to Challenge Trump's New Visa Restrictions

The American Civil Liberties Union says that Trump's latest visa restrictions, despite adding North Korea and Venezuelan officials, is still a "Muslim ban."
US President Donald Trump speaks to the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, DC, Sept. 29, 2017.SAUL LOEB / AFP - Getty Images

The groups behind one of the successful challenges to President Trump's travel ban signaled Friday that they intend to go back to court to take on the most recent visa restrictions.

Led by the International Refugee Assistance Project and represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the groups told a federal judge in Maryland Friday that they plan to seek a court order to stop enforcement of the new visa rules announced by the White House on Sept. 24. ACLU lawyers asked for a meeting with the judge and lawyers for the government to discuss next steps.

"President Trump's newest travel ban is still a Muslim ban at its core, and it certainly engages in discrimination based on national origin, which is unlawful. Adding a few North Koreans and a tiny group of Venezuelan officials doesn't paper over the original sin of the Muslim ban," said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.

The ACLU letter says Justice Department lawyers indicated they would oppose any order blocking enforcement.

Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in an email to The Associated Press after the ACLU announced its intention to take legal action that the department "will continue to vigorously defend the President's inherent authority to keep this country safe."

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The Supreme Court, meanwhile, has asked lawyers for both sides to say by Thursday whether the two cases that challenged the president's authority to issue the executive order in the first place should be dismissed, including the case from Maryland. If the court does dismiss them, that wouldn't make the challenges go away. It would dispose only of the lower court orders that restricted enforcement.