Trump issues new travel ban, lightens up on more controversial restrictions
On Monday President Donald Trump signed a new executive order banning migrants from six predominately Muslim nations. The order is a re-tuning of last month’s executive order, popularly viewed as a “Muslim ban”, and will come into effect on March 16.
The new order drops Iraq from the initial list of seven countries, and gets rid of an exception for migrants that belong to religious minorities. The indefinite ban on refugees from Syria has also been brought down to a 120 day ban. Experts believe the changes were made to help the order pass legal challenges, since Trump’s previous attempt was halted by U.S. courts.
The order also differs in that it allows permanent residents and those who have already received refugee status to enter the U.S.
“The Unites States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet it has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm,” reads the fact sheet submitted by the White House along with the order.
Those seeking visas from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will have their application process suspended for 90 days, while the administration reviews its vetting processes with the goal of identifying terrorists.
“We don’t want them here,” said president Trump of terrorists during the signing of the previous bill. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”
In trying to justify itself, the order points out that 300 people admitted to the U.S. as refugees were investigated for counter terrorism purposes. However, the order failed to note whether or not these people were from any of the countries banned.
Critics have called the order unnecessary, arguing that it exists solely for Trump to pander to his right wing base.
A recently leaked report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security brought severe doubt to the Trump administration’s claim that the travel ban’s is an effective and necessary counter-terrorism tool.
The report found that most terrorists are home-grown — they only radicalize after living in the United States for some time.
“We assess that most foreign-born, U.S. based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns,” reads the report.
An earlier version of the report reads that “foreign-born, U.S.-based individuals who were inspired by a foreign terrorist organization to participate in terrorism-related activity were citizens of 26 different countries, with no one country representing more than 13.5 per cent of the foreign-born total.” It also concluded that “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
Trump’s new executive order, like its previous iteration, has some surprising exclusions. Saudi Arabia, the country from which most of the 9/11 hijackers were citizens of, is not listed as one of the banned countries.
It remains to be seen whether or not the changes made will allow this iteration of the order to survive legal scrutiny.