President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is not backing down on an executive order halting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, vowing to fight legal challenges to his most divisive action so far as president all the way through the courts.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco will hear arguments Tuesday over whether the United States should restore the order. Federal Judge James Robart, who serves in the state of Washington, previously suspended it, prompting personal attacks from Trump.
Trump suggested that his administration will keep pressing the fight if the appeal fails.
"We're going to take it through the system," Trump told reporters at the White House. "It's very important, it's very important for the country regardless of me or whoever succeeds at a later date. We have to have security in our country."
Asked if he thinks the case will go to the Supreme Court, Trump said "we will see." He added that "hopefully, it doesn't have to."
Trump's order signed late last month sparked confusion at airports and protests around the country. Key leaders in corporate America also slammed the move. On Monday, 97 companies filed an amicus brief with the appeals court, saying Trump's move inflicts "substantial harm."
Justice Department lawyers will argue the case against opposing attorneys from the states of Minnesota and Washington. The appeals court will focus on whether the lower court had the grounds to suspend the order, not the legality of issuing the order itself.
Trump's order temporarily barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries with visas from entering the United States amid what the White House called a need to vet immigrants properly to prevent terrorism. It also temporarily halted refugee admissions and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely.
The White House has defended it as necessary to properly vet people who could attempt terrorist attacks on American soil. Trump on Tuesday urged courts to "act fast" and has repeatedly contended that people are "pouring in" because of the judge's action, without evidence to back that claim.