There has been an updated reboot of President Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim majority countries. The White House statement entitled, “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats” is said to enhance vetting capabilities and processes for detecting attempted entry of terrorists or other public threats into the United States.
Banning classes of immigrants is not unique to President Trump. The previous six presidents have all banned classes of immigrants. Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 states:
“Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
The new restrictions aim to prevent security threats from entering the United States. Persons from nations targeted by the new policy will face more extreme vetting if they seek to obtain a visa or be denied entrance into the U.S. all together.
The nations who’ll receive increased scrutiny have been selected as a result of a Department of Homeland Security investigation that identified more than six nations that were failing to comply with security standards. This noncompliance puts the U.S. at risk for the entrance of terrorists according to DHS.
DHS has stated that officials notified authorities in the identified countries that restrictions would be put in place if security standards were not improved. Those who made improvements are not subject to new restrictions.
“The Trump Administration will ensure that the people who travel to the United States are properly vetted and those that don’t belong here aren’t allowed to enter,” said Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at DHS. The Trump Administration states the purpose of the travel ban was to inhibit terrorists from entering the country with travel documents meant for tourists or those seeking temporary employment.
When the original travel ban was introduced as an executive order one week after Trump’s inauguration it caused chaos in airports amid travelers and protestors. The ban was contested and blocked in federal court before proceeding to the Supreme Court.
There are some differences from these travel restrictions and the old travel ban from spring.
• Citizens of Chad, Libya and Yemen may not enter as immigrants or as non-immigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2) and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas. These restrictions are also in place for “officials of government” involved in screen and vetting procedures.
• For Venezuela, the ban restricts travel of government officials and their immediate families but not the nation’s citizens at large.
• Iranian nationals cannot enter the U.S. as immigrants and non-immigrants save for those admitted “under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas. Those with these visas will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.”
• North Korea and Syria were found to be “uncooperative” in fighting terrorism. All North Korean and Syrian nationals are barred entry.
• Somalia was identified as having “significant identity-management deficiencies” and because a “persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory” no Somali nationals can enter the United States.
The travel ban does not affect lawful permanent residents or those with valid visas by the effective debate. It also does not affect dual citizens traveling using their passport from an unrestricted country. Those with diplomatic visas, foreign nationals who have been granted asylum and an anyone granted withholding of removal, advance parole or protection under the Convention Against Torture will not be banned from travel.
For foreign nationals of Iran, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia lacking a bona fide relationship with someone in the United States this order becomes effective September 24, 2017, at 3pm Eastern. For everyone else affected, the ban becomes effective on 12:01 am Eastern time October 18, 2017. The latter effective date applies to individuals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia who have a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States in addition to citizens of Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.
Regarding previous bans being called a “Muslim Ban” the current ban still affects predominantly Muslims. Of the new countries added, Chad is predominantly Muslim, travel from North Korea is already basically frozen, and Venezuelan restriction only affect government officials on certain visas.
Regarding individuals who are refugees, the proclamation states, “People seeking access to the United States as refugees are not covered by the proclamation. Entry of refugees is currently limited by the president’s original travel ban.” The administration is expected to announce new restrictions for refugees in the next couple of days.
Considering this new Proclamation, the Supreme Court has suspending it’s hearing of oral arguments regarding the second travel ban previously scheduled for October 20. The Court is now asking for briefs regarding third ban. No dates have been set for hearings.
Several commentators assert that adding non-Muslim countries to the ban is a ploy to make the ban constitutional. However, the Trump Administration argues that the countries have been added for legitimate reasons as a result of DHS investigations on national security.
Naureen Shah of Amnesty International USA argues that this third generation of the ban is still “government-sanctioned discrimination”. These bans unjustly vilify entire populations and hinder the free movement of innocent people who rely on the ability to travel to study and work.