After a botched roll-out in January, President Donald Trump today signed a new version of his executive order to ban immigration to the United States from a number of Muslim-majority countries. The text of the new order removes Iraq from the list of countries affected and makes exceptions for green card holders and dual-citizens of targeted countries.
The order also removes exceptions for religious minorities, targeting en masse the citizens of Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Libya and Somalia. The travel ban will go into effect on March 16th, ten days from its signing. At a press conference announcing the revised order, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the new measure will “bolster the security of the United States and her allies.”
The revised order represents an attempt by the Trump administration to escape the legal challenges that the first order generated when it was released this January. Described by some legal analysts as “a giant birthday present to the ACLU,” the original order was almost immediately tied up in the courts. It also generated widespread protests in the United States, as activists turned out to airports to demand the release of individuals being detained or denied entry to the country. A court in Seattle ultimately ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, terminating its applicability nationwide and fatally undermining attempts to turn it into law.
Despite a few modest revisions, there is little to indicate that the order signed today is different in intent. Trump’s own surrogates have publicly stated that it is intended to be effectively identical to the much-derided order signed in January. Steven Miller, a senior adviser to the president, described it as “the same, basic policy outcome for the country.” In a statement issued today the ACLU said that the revised order “shares the same fatal flaws” as the original one, adding that “the only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban.”
Despite the fact that Trump campaigned for the presidency on a promise of banning Muslims from the country, the administration has pushed back against claims that its executive order is discriminatory, describing it instead as a national security measure. But a Department of Homeland Security report leaked to the press last week threw cold water on that argument, saying that “citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist intent,” and finding that “few of the impacted countries have terrorist groups that threaten the West.”