After hitting a wall—oh, the irony—in U.S. courts, Trump and his minions have revised their immigration ban, yet its constitutionality is still questionable. Trump is trying his best to make banning immigration and travel between predominantly-Muslim countries as legal as he possibly can. The changes aim to sidestep potential legal challenges, like those faced in the 9th Circuit Court, but legal experts have their doubts.
Trump signed the new ban Monday afternoon, but unlike the last one, he gave a buffer this time of ten days until it goes into effect on March 16. How sweet. But what else is new about this travel ban?
Iraq is Excused
Only six countries are part of Trump’s travel ban this time around. Iraq is in the clear, leaving Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen still restricted as government officials continue to believe those countries pose terrorist concerns.
The close relationship between the U.S. and Iraq may be the reason for the sudden leniency. The U.S. is a friend of Iraq’s elected government, has a large presence of troops stationed there, appreciates Iraq’s commitment to fighting ISIS, and likes that Iraq provides more information about their citizens immigrating to the U.S. than the other travel-restricted countries. The U.S. Justice Department says these factors earned the predominantly-Muslim country some brownie points and different treatment.
Green Card Holders Have the Green Light
Nationals of the six travel-banned countries who are permanent residents of the U.S. are not affected this time. Those with valid visas as of Monday are also unaffected.
Refugees Given a Time Line
Refugees are no longer indefinitely suspended from the U.S.: now it’s a 120-day ban, starting March 16. And yes, that includes Syrian refugees. Carrying over from the original ban, Trump capped the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. at 50,000 per year.
When you try to make it not about religion but it’s really about religion
The new ban shows no preference for “religious minorities,” such as Christian applicants who file based on escaping religious persecution. That’s where the original ban got into trouble. This will help Trump’s defense that his ban indeed does not violate the first amendment.
Let’s talk more about the legal issues. Firstly, the new ban “revokes” the original, according to the Justice Department, so the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can drop the case regarding the original ban: Now the Justice Department can clear their agenda to invent new ways to defend this E.O. while confronting expected legal challenges against the new ban!
The Trump administration tried to fix all the ways the travel ban could be struck down in court. Legal experts say it’s going to be tougher to challenge now that Iraq is out of the picture. It affects much fewer people living in the U.S. than before. The narrower focus of this new version evokes less concern of violating the due process rights of travelers. New York immigration attorney Ted Ruthizer says the revised travel ban will be much harder to block in court, but it’s still likely that families of travelers from the six countries and civil liberties activists will sue the shit out of this ban. That is, if they aren’t already fleeing to Canada to seek asylum.
So, while Trump continues thinking he’s keeping us all safe from terrorists, many Americans continue to see straight through the poorly veiled attempt of discrimination against Muslims. Undoubtedly, the travel ban will see another day in court…soon.