The Travel Ban 2.0

Protecting the Nation?

On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed and executed an Executive Order that shook the world: “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.” In sum, the executive order temporarily bans travel to the U.S. for people, mainly refugees, from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen for 90-days.

Many Americans believe President Trump’s intent and purpose for the order is to shield America from foreign threats and ensure the safety of its citizens. Others believe it is a racially-motivated act that undermines this country’s constitutional values and foundation. It has been met with harsh criticism, sparking one of the largest protests in the last decade. House Speaker Paul Ryan even admitted that “rollout was confusing.”

Judge James Robart is a U.S. District Judge who was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003. On February 3, 2017, Judge Robart exercised his judiciary power and issued a temporary nationwide restraining order essentially stopping President Trump’s executive order. Ultimately, his decision was unanimously upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

However, this did not stop the President from pursuing his agenda. Just yesterday, on March 6, 2017, he signed yet another executive order banning entry of people from select countries into the U.S. This has Americans questioning: how is this executive order different from the first one, if at all?

1. It is slightly narrower.

The new executive order does not include Iraq. The new order still bans people from Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. Americans may be wondering why Iraq was moved from this list. According to Homeland Security officials, the Iraqi government agreed to provide crucial information regarding its citizens. This led President Trump and officials to decide to remove Iraq from the list.

2. Visa holders will not be subjected to the ban.

The original order created chaos because it failed to distinguish visa holders from those countries listed. The new executive order offers more clarity, stating that green-card holders would not be affected by the ban.

3. Religion will not be a factor.

Many Americans believe that the original order was strictly a Muslim ban because President Trump addressed his desire to prioritize the safety of Syrian Christians, versus all Syrian refugees, who are predominately Muslim. The new order does not include this preferential treatment.

4. The 120-day ban applies to all refugees.

The original order included an indefinite ban on entry into the U.S. for all Syrian refugees. The new order now retains that same 120-day ban to all refugees, including Syrians.

5. The order is not effective upon entry.

The original order was effective upon entry, thus, it was not reviewed or edited by government officials. The new order will take effect on March 16, which will allow the government to prepare.

The question now remains: will this new executive order be met with the same criticism? Or will its adjustments and narrower scope offer more insight to Americans? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Zeina Rammal, Esq.