Muslims Vow To Fight Latest Trump Administration Travel Ban Order
President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order on Monday (March 6) banning citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the United States but removing Iraq from the list, after his controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts.
The new order, which takes effect on March 16, keeps a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. It applies only to new visa applicants, meaning some 60,000 people whose visas were revoked under the previous order will now be permitted to enter.
Immigration advocates said the new ban still discriminated against Muslims and failed to address some of their key concerns with the previous order. Legal experts said it would, however, be harder to challenge because it affects fewer people living in the United States and allows more exemptions to protect them.
Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of CAIR, The Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the latest travel ban undercuts religious freedoms in the U.S.
"This administration is actively working to undercut religious liberties and the freedom of American Muslims, despite constitutional protections that guarantee freedom of religion to all" Awad told reporters.
Trump, who first proposed a temporary travel ban on Muslims during his presidential campaign last year, had said his original Jan. 27 executive order was a national security measure meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants.
It sparked chaos and protests at airports, where visa holders were detained and later deported back to their home countries. It also drew criticism from targeted countries, Western allies and some of America's leading corporations before a U.S. judge suspended it on Feb. 3.
Democrats, a minority in Congress, quickly signaled fierce opposition to what they called a discriminatory ban.
Trump's original ban resulted in more than two dozen lawsuits in U.S. courts. The Justice Department estimated 60,000 people had their visas revoked by the first order but senior administration officials said on Monday those visas were now valid again for entry into the United States.
The revised order means that tens of thousands of legal permanent U.S. residents - or green card holders - from the listed countries will no longer be affected.
The original order barred travelers from the seven nations from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. Refugees from Syria were to be banned indefinitely but under the new order they are not given separate treatment.
Iraq was taken off the banned list because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State (ISIS) militants, a senior White House official said.