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Sessions defends travel ban as 'lawful,' 'necessary,' day after parts were blocked

October 18, 2017 - 10:39 am

(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended President Donald Trump's third travel ban Wednesday, the day it was set to go into effect, as a "lawful" and "necessary" order that the Department of Justice is "proud to defend."

The Trump administration's attempts to restrict travel from some overseas countries in the name of national security, which range back to January, were dealt its most recent setback Tuesday when a Hawaiian district court judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking part of the ban. The most recent ban, the third iteration, restricted immigration and travel to the U.S. from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

"The president's executive order is an important step to ensuring that we know who is coming into our country," Sessions said during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning. "It is a lawful necessary order that we are proud to defend."

U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, who also issued a temporary restraining order on the second version of the ban that was later converted into a preliminary injunction, wrote Tuesday that the third executive order "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: It lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.'"

An additional district court in Maryland later granted a preliminary injunction on the ban.

Sessions pointed out Wednesday that the Supreme Court previously permitted parts of the second version of the order to take effect in June. He additionally expressed confidence that the administration would eventually succeed, should the matter again make its way to the country's highest court.

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