WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (Reuters) - The Trump administration is preparing to replace its controversial travel ban with a new order tailored on a country-by-country basis but affecting slightly more than the six nations now targeted, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.
The new rules would not have a stated end date, with countries facing the potential of being added or removed from the list at any time, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the process.
The Department of Homeland Security’s plan would replace U.S. President Donald Trump’s earlier executive order that banned travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and limited refugee admissions. The March 6 order suspended travel for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and locked out most aspiring refugees for 120 days.
That ban, which took effect in June, is now before the Supreme Court where it faces a key hearing over its constitutionality in October. The 90-day ban expires on Sunday, while the refugee ban expires on Oct. 24.
Trump’s administration has said the ban is critical to national security, while opponents have argued it violates the U.S. Constitution’s religious protections.
The first version of Trump’s order, signed in January, sparked protests and chaos at airports worldwide before it was blocked by U.S. courts. The administration replaced it with a new version in March in response to the legal challenges.
“The Trump administration will ensure we only admit those who can be properly vetted and will not pose a threat to national security or public safety,” a White House official said when asked about the Journal’s story on Friday.
The Journal’s report said it was not immediately clear which countries would be affected by the latest restrictions, which Trump could reject or modify.
Representatives for the DHS did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the WSJ report.
The Supreme Court is due to hear oral arguments in the challenge to the March 6 order on Oct. 10. (Reporting by Susan Heavey, Yeganeh Torbati and Jeff Mason; Editing by Paul Simao)