Trump to Sign New 90-Day Travel Ban and Temporarily Suspend Entire Refugee Program
In an effort to make Muslim Ban 2.0 happen, Donald Trump will sign a new executive order Monday. It bans people from six majority-Muslim countries from getting visas for 90 days, and suspends the United States’ entire refugee program for 120 days. You may recall that this went poorly last time and was blocked by a federal judge.
Trump has been vowing since mid-February to replace the failed travel ban with something legally enforceable. According to a fact sheet obtained by the Associated Press, this new version places a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. It doesn’t apply to those who already have valid visas, and Iraq, the seventh country previously on the list, was removed under political pressure after lots of people pointed out that Iraqis risked their lives aiding the American military in the fight against ISIS. The New York Times reported Sunday night that this version also doesn’t contain the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees entering the country.
The AP also reports that this new version suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days and caps the number of refugees entering the country this year at 50,000 people. The Department of Homeland Security is also conducting some kind of review of the six countries on the ban list:
According to the fact sheet, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the information the six targeted nations provide to the U.S. for visa and immigration decisions. Those countries will then have 50 days to comply with U.S. government requests to update or improve that information.
Additionally, Trump’s order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
The language specifically giving priority to religious minorities (read: Christians from Muslim countries) has also been removed, because we decided a long time ago that religious tests are not the way we do things here.
The new order is being discussed by some journalists as a “defeat” for Trump and his chief architect Steve Bannon. But that ignores the direct and immediate harm it imposes on people trying to flee terrorism and hardship. It also fails to take into account that some immigration and border patrol officials enthusiastically overstepped their authority in trying to carry out the first Muslim ban. There’s no reason to think they’ll stay within the law this time because they no longer think they have to.
And, even though this version is marginally more careful than the “no Muslims forever” proposal we saw last time, it’s still virtually guaranteed to face challenges in court. The ACLU seems to think this round will also go their way.
See you at the airports, everybody!