When the Trump Administration signed its original executive order blocking travel into the U.S. from 7 predominately Muslim countries and barring Syrian refugees, protest broke out across the country and 50 lawsuits ensued.
Even Green Card holders were detained amidst the chaos and long-term U.S. residents were denied entry due to the January 27th order.
On March 6th the Administration has signed a new order to replace the one struck down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Several changes have been instituted to ensure this version holds up in court.
Modifications to the travel ban have been put in place to avoid chaos. For one, the ban won’t become effective until March 16th giving agencies time to adjust to the new policies. Iraq, who has purportedly upgraded their vetting process, is no longer listed among the banned countries.
Iraqis working with the U.S. military will be able to enter the country on a special immigrant visa and avoid being detained at airports as occurred with the signing of the first order.
In addition, the order will not affect those already holding a valid immigration status such as lawful permanent residents and individuals with a travel document that is valid on the effective date of the order or any day thereafter. Persons with dual nationality will not be affected as well as those traveling with diplomatic visas.
The order’s ban on refugees will take the form of a temporary ban that lasts 120 days. The ban will also dictate that not more than 50,000 refugees are to be admitted per year. The Trump Administration has attempted to remove religious discrimination from their policy. One noteworthy attempt at erasing the bans blatant discrimination against Muslim majority countries has been to remove the caveat that certain refugee claims could be prioritized on the basis of religious persecution.
This legalese that would allow Christian minority citizens of Muslim countries to seek asylum while their Muslim counterparts could not, was open discrimination that was contested in the court ruling on the original ban. The order justifies its ban on refugees by stating that 300 people who entered the country as refugees were implicated in counterterrorism investigations. It has not been revealed which countries these refugees were from.
Immigration Executive Order Comparison
|January 27th Order||March 6th Order|
|Nations Banned||Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran||Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Iran|
|Statuses Affected||Applies to both visa and non-visa holders.||Applies only to non-visa holders (Those with a valid or multi-entry visa are exempt.) Green card holders are exempt.|
|Effective Date||Immediately upon signing||March 16th|
|Religious Minorities||Exempted||No Exemptions|
|Refugee Settlement Cap||50,000||50,000|
|Duration of Ban||90 days||90 days|
|Refugee Settlement Ban||120 Days||120 Days (Syrian refugees no longer indefinitely banned.)|
It is uncertain how activist groups will respond to this version of the travel ban. A representative of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project has said that the organization will continue to pursue lawsuits as long as any ban is in place.
Although reduced in its sweeping effects, this ban will still affect hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals attempting to enter into the U.S., and strain U.S. relations with the affected countries.