Because You Asked: How is this Travel Restriction Different than the Last Blocked by the Courts?
Welcome to this segment of Because You Asked, I’m Barry Nussbaum.
This week President Donald Trump released his new and revised immigration travel ban, issued again as an executive order. You asked, “how is this travel restriction different than the last one that was blocked by the courts?” There are a number of changes, some major, some minor. I will do my best to review the new order as clearly as possible.
- Iraq is now removed from the list. The executive order still imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the United States for nationals of several mostly Muslim countries. Iraq, however, has been removed from the original list. The new list covers six countries: Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iran. According to the Trump administration, the Iraqi government agreed to increase cooperation with the U.S. government with regard to vetting travelers to the U.S. Iraq, which is working closely with the U.S. military to defeat the Islamic state, asked to be excluded from the new list and they were removed from the order after agreeing to increase cooperation with the U.S. government, according to the fact sheet released by the Trump administration. Citizens and nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who didn’t have a visa by 5 p.m. on January 27 cannot enter the United States for 90 days. This restriction applies to unaccompanied children. Dual nationals from those countries who are traveling on a passport from a different country aren’t affected by the order.
- Valid visas stand. The order clarifies that foreign nationals from the six countries who already had valid visas as of January 27 will not be affected.
- Syria treated the same. The new order still calls for a temporary suspension of all refugees from any country while measures are put into place to vet, but the new order drops language regarding an “indefinite suspension” of Syrian refugees. They will no longer be singled out, addressing an issue the courts had with targeting Syrian refugees. According to the revised order, returning refugees are an exception. So, the indefinite ban on Syrians is lifted under the new restrictions. They will now be subject to same 90-day ban on travelers and 120 days for refugees. The original order read “I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States”, under the original ban Syrians would have been barred until Trump felt that “sufficient changes” had been made to screening procedures. By the way, President Obama had allowed 10,000 refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war to enter the United States in 2016, keep in mind there is virtually no government of Syria so vetting is virtually impossible.
- Green card holders exempt; The new order makes clear that legal permanent residents are not affected. The order doesn’t apply to legal-permanent residents of the U.S., so-called green card holders.
- Security review in the first 20 days, DHS will perform a global, country-by-country review of identity and security information that each of the six countries provides to support U.S. visa and immigration determinations – countries then have 50 days to comply with U.S. requests to update or improve the quality of that information, prior to issuing a travel visa.
- Rollout in public. The last time the President signed the document without much media fanfare. This time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions introduced the revised executive order in a media briefing.
- New effective date. The Trump administration said the new executive order is effective at 12:01 a.m. EST on March 16. The new order takes effect in 10 days rather than immediately. Trump’s original ban led to chaos at U.S. and international airports, as thousands of visa holders were blocked from entering the country or detained after arriving in the United States.
- No religious preferences. The new ban has no preference for “religious minorities,” such as Christians claiming persecution in mostly Muslim nations.
- What about people who have been granted asylum or refugee status? Refugees and people granted asylum aren’t covered by the travel order. Refugees and people granted asylum who haven’t yet arrived in the U.S. will be admitted so long as travel was formally scheduled by the State Department.
- Are waivers available? The State Department will consider waivers to visas in conjunction with visa applications. Waivers are granted if the traveler can document that his or her arrival is in the national interest, will not pose a threat to national security, and that denying entry during the suspension period will cause undue hardship.
- Is Customs and Border Protection coordinating with airlines about the latest travel restrictions? Custom and Border Protection (CBP) says it will remain in continuous communication with airlines to provide guidance and answer questions about the order. Airlines routinely check passenger lists before flights against lists provided by CBP to ensure that travelers aren’t prohibited from the U.S.
Reaction? No mass demonstrations this time, although in some places like Chicago’s O’Hara airport, lawyers are donating their time with set aside space from the airport authority to counsel illegal immigrants in how to not get deported. One attorney interviewed said he had volunteered because these illegals were having their rights taken away! really? My question to him and for you to think about is, what rights? The only rights vested in our country are they rights granted under the constitution and those are granted only to American citizens, please don’t let the media confuse you on this point! Being educated makes you a more active participant in our democracy!
Please keep your questions coming to American Truth Project and our social media on facebook or twitter. If we select your question you will get a special gift. We’re here to answer your urgent questions because you asked, I’m Barry Nussbaum.