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US appeals court suspends Trump travel ban proceedings

A US appeals court has put on hold a decision over whether to rehear President Donald Trump's travel ban on individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it would put that process on hold pending further developments.

The Trump administration said in court documents on Thursday it wants a pause in the legal fight over its ban so it can issue a replacement ban.

"I will not back down from defending our country. I got elected on defense of our country," said Trump.

The appeals court had asked the Trump administration and the states of Washington and Minnesota to file arguments on whether a larger panel should rehear the case.

Lawyers for the administration said in the filing that a ban that focuses solely on foreigners who have never entered the US - instead of green card holders already in the US or who have traveled abroad and want to return - would pose no legal difficulties.

"In so doing, the president will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further, potentially time-consuming litigation," the filing said.

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Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the federal government was "conceding defeat" by saying it does not want a larger appellate panel to review last week's ruling.

The three judges who issued that decision rejected the Trump administration's claim of presidential authority and questioned its motives in ordering the ban.

The panel said the states had raised "serious" allegations that the ban targets Muslims and it rejected the federal government's argument that courts do not have the authority to review the president's immigration and national security decisions.

The three judges said the Trump administration presented no evidence that any foreigner from the seven countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - was responsible for a terrorist attack in the US.

jbh/rt (Reuters, AP)

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