Trump’s New Travel Ban Is Here

The second attempt at an executive order targeting some Muslim majority countries is out

A demonstrator against the immigration rules implemented by Trump's — REUTERS
Mar 06, 2017 at 11:38 AM ET

The Trump administration revealed version 2.0 of its Muslim ban on Monday, intended to replace the first attempt that drew widespread protests and was blocked by courts.

The new order appears to have addressed many of the reasons why the first one was so widely criticized by citizens and judges alike. It now bans new visas from being given to travelers from six Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen — for 90 days. Iraq, which was on the list of banned countries in the first incarnation of the order, is no longer part of the ban. Many Iraqis coming to America were on Special Immigrant Visas because they helped the United States in some way during the last war, making their inclusion in the original ban seem especially cruel to critics. Of the seven countries included in the first order, Iraq had the second-most refugees during fiscal year 2016 (Syria had the most) as well as the second-most refugees out of all countries over the last decade.

Refugees from Syria, who were indefinitely banned under the first order, are now included in the 120-day ban placed on refugees from other countries. The section that said refugees who were part of minority religions and claiming religious persecution would be given priority once the refugee ban was lifted has been removed. As all countries in the ban were Muslim-majority, this was seen as a way to effectively block Muslims from obtaining refugee status, and used as an argument that the order was discriminatory against Muslims. Trump’s oft-repeated campaign promises to enact a “Muslim ban” also factored into the state of Washington and Minnesota’s successful argument against it to the courts. Unlike with executive orders, those words cannot simply be changed with a new one.

Additionally, the ban is on new visas only, which means that people from those six countries who have green cards or were already issued visas will not be affected in the new executive order, which is scheduled to take effect on March 16, ten days after Trump signed it on Monday. Stories of people who were suddenly banned from re-entering America when they had green cards or existing visas (some of whom were in mid-flight when the order was signed) circulated in the hours and days following the first order’s implementation and were also a big part of the criticism against it, though the administration tried to clarify in the days following the order that green card holders were not supposed to be included in the ban.

While the new order’s language may be enough to hold up to the inevitable challenges it will face in court, it most likely will do little to placate those who so vehemently protested the first one.