The Donald Trump administration issued a new executive order on Monday, temporarily banning travel from six Muslim majority countries to the United States, after an earlier order ran foul of the country’s judiciary. The new executive order bans travel from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, leaving out Iraq that was also in the list of barred countries in the January order.
In an attempt to pass the next round of inevitable judicial scrutiny, current visa and green card holders from these countries will not be affected by this order. The order also explains the basis for including the six countries trying to remedy a lacuna in the earlier order. The new order also avoids the preferential treatment offered to Christian refugees in the earlier order.
“Here we go again…Muslim Ban 2.0,” Muslims member of U.S. Congress Andre Carson responded.
“Courts across the country have made clear: President Trump is not above the Constitution. While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear,” New York Attorney-General Eric T. Schneiderman, said offering to take the issue to court again.
“We do not make the law, but are sworn to enforce it. We have no other option,” said Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, at a press conference to announce the presidential decision.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Attorney-General Jefferson Sessions were also present. “The order is completely lawful,” said Mr. Sessions.
The new order will not come into effect until March 16, in contrast with the earlier order that was effective immediately, leading to confusion at airports and leaving many people in transit stranded. There will be a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of these six countries, and nation’s refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, according to the order. While the temporary ban is in place for 90 days, the U.S. administration will review the security measures in place to prevent potential threats from gaining a U.S. visa. The number of refugees to be admitted this year has been reduced to 50,000 from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration. The indefinite ban on Syrian refugees has been lifted.
The order said each of the six countries was a “state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organisations or contains active conflict zones.” The order gives country-wise details justifying the inclusion of each and also explains the exclusion of Iraq. “Iraq presents a special case. Portions of Iraq remain combat zones,” the order said, but added that the country’s commitment to “combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq.”
In justification of the order, the administration said people who entered the U.S on visas or as refugees from these countries have “proved to be threats to national security.” “The Attorney-General has reported to me that more than 300 persons who entered the U.S. as refugees are currently subjects of counter-terrorism investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigations [FBI],” the President said in the order.