Earlier this week, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order banning travel from six Muslim majority countries, overwriting his previous ban that was met with worldwide mass protests and ended in a federal appeals court ruling on Feb. 9. The revised order, which Democrats are criticizing as a “watered down” version of the first, is at face value a more benign legislation drafted to dodge legal lash backs.
It preserves core concepts of the first order, but is crafted to affect fewer U.S. citizens and visa-holders. Iraq was excluded from the list of nations whose citizens are banned from entering the country, which leaves six countries in total: Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
According to the executive order, Iraq has been removed from the list, on grounds that “close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected Iraqi government, the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of United States forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq.”
The revised order, which Democrats are criticizing as a “watered down” version of the first, is at face value a more benign legislation drafted to dodge legal lash backs. tweet
The remaining countries will be subject to another 90-day travel ban.
While the number of refugees admitted to the country will still be capped at 50,000 compared to the Obama administration’s 110,000, the new order has scrapped the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and refugees who have already been approved by the State Department may enter the U.S. The 120-day freeze, however, still remains and may be reviewed and renewed.
The Justice Department estimated that around 60,000 visas were revoked under the previous order, which will be valid under the one announced on Monday. Green card holders from the six countries listed will also not be affected.
Unlike the previous order, priority will not be afforded to religious minorities.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and her allies.”
Department of Homeland Security John Kelly agrees. “The fact remains that we are not immune to terrorist threats and that our enemies often use our own freedoms and generosity against us,” he said Monday.
However, no recent terrorist activity or mass shootings in the United States were dealt by people from the nations included in the ban.
According to a drafted assessment by Homeland Security obtained by the Associate Press, citizenship was an “unlikely indicator” of a threat to security.
Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs stated, “Sudanese citizens have never been involved in any crimes or terrorism in the United States.” It expressed its “deep regret and discontent” regarding the new ban.
No recent terrorist activity or mass shootings in the United States were dealt by people from the nations included in the ban. tweet
The United Nations was also critical of Trump’s decision. “Americans have long played a crucial role in promoting global stability while simultaneously exemplifying the highest humanitarian ideals,” Filippo Grandi UN High Commissioner said. “At a time of record-high levels of forced human displacement, this kind of humane leadership is needed more than ever.”
This previous ban was signed after the previous legislation reached the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and was struck down as a result of public interest and the failure of the administration to provide the court with confidential information under the political system of checks and balances.
The court requested a review of the administration’s reasons for reinstating the ban, which the administration insisted was unconstitutional. The administration also argued that the suit brought on by the state of Washington, and later Minnesota, was illegal. To that, the judges said, “As the operators of state universities, the states may assert not only their own rights to extent affected by the Executive Order but may also assert the rights of their students and faculty members.”
The court of appeals also criticized Trump for failing to prove how the travel ban solved immediate national security concerns and fulfilled the “urgent need” warranted under an executive order.
What does this mean for the current ban?
While it was crafted to work around the 3-0 decision that blocked the first order, there may still be some legal loopholes. Lawyers and organizations are preparing themselves for a second round of lawsuits. “I stand ready to litigate — again — in order to protect New York’s families, institutions and economy,” attorney general of New York Eric T. Schneiderman, a plaintiff in the first suit, said.
If the administration fails to provide concrete evidence that halting travel from the six nations listed is key to securing the United States, it may not withstand the scrutiny of a leftist judge.
While this travel ban sliced discriminatory rhetoric and the previous order’s preference given to “religious minorities” entering the U.S. (Christians living in Muslim countries), the underlying anti-Muslim sentiment still stands. tweet
Justice Department lawyers claim that the revisions nullify any previous legal arguments against a travel ban, but immigrant right lawyers think differently.
While this travel ban sliced discriminatory rhetoric and the previous order’s preference given to “religious minorities” entering the U.S. (Christians living in Muslim countries), the underlying anti-Muslim sentiment still stands.
“This is a retreat, but let’s be clear — it’s just another run at a Muslim ban,” Omar Jadwat, Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, said. “The can’t unring the bell.”
Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York also criticized the current ban for being “mean-spirited and un-American.”
If this travel ban reaches the Supreme Court and Neil Gorsuch is simultaneously appointed as the ninth justice on the bench (his confirmation hearing begins March 20), it is likely the travel ban will be reinstated in a 5-4 vote.
The second executive order does nothing more than exempt Iraq under the pretense of diplomacy and an attempt to appease the American public with a poorly refurbished version of an unconstitutional and shoddy piece of legislation.
It will be implemented beginning March 16, two weeks after its signing in order to avoid the debacle that followed the previous ban.