The Trump Administration’s “travel ban” executive order, which many critics called a “Muslim ban” instead, was met with controversy and angry protests across the United States and countries beyond. Most of the heated responses stemmed from the fact that green card holders from around the world were being detained at airports with little to no explanation. After a federal court blocked and effectively stopped the order from ever being enforced, Trump and his team got to work on a second, more-moderate draft, which was recently signed by the President.
Noteworthy Changes to the New Travel Ban
While this new executive order was being drafted, it was stated by the Trump Administration that it would be done carefully enough to make it impossible for courts to fight it. Whether or not that is true will be seen in the coming days, or after it is officially implemented on March 16th.
The big differences in the new executive order are:
- Iraq approved: Apparently influence from the Pentagon and the State Department has made it so Iraq is no longer included on the list of seven countries facing strict travel bans. In exchange for the leniency, Iraq’s government has promised to give full cooperation to the U.S. when vetting its citizens.
- Six countries: A 90-day travel ban will affect six countries – Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria – but only in blocking people who are trying to get new visas or enter the country without any official paperwork. Green card and visa holders should not encounter any new restraints at the border. It is worth noting that customs agents have always and still do hold the legal authority to detain anyone deemed a person of suspicion.
- Syria untargeted: The new executive order maintains the 120-day hold on the country’s refugee program, disallowing new refugees to enter the country or file for asylum. The first draft also stated that Syrian refugees would be banned until further notice. This is no longer the case, and the country is included in the umbrella refugee ban.
- Refugee limit: Perhaps as a way to reach a middle ground between both sides of the argument, when the 120-day ban on refugees is lifted, a new 50,000 refugee limit a year will be imposed. It is not clear if this number will increase or decrease as the years go on.
- Religions not considered: Any language referring to any religion of any kind has been removed from the executive order, hoping to rid all arguments of the order being a “Muslim ban.” The first draft mentioned expedited immigration processes for “persecuted religious minorities” leaving the seven countries of note. Critics interpreted this to mean that Christians entering the U.S. would get preferential treatment.
Reacting to the New Executive Order
This new draft of the “travel ban” executive order certainly has made strides to try to reach a firm legal standing and that steps on as few toes as possible. However, there is also plenty of opportunities from critics from either side to lash out against the order. Only in the coming weeks will we see if it can stand the test of time, or if it will also need to be revised due to the interception of a federal court.
In the meantime, if you need help with immigration law, such as understanding your rights as a refugee seeking asylum or a green card holder who needs to travel soon, Mazaheri Law Firm and our Oklahoma City immigration attorneys can help. Not only have we compiled a useful list of immigration law resources for you to review, but we also are trusted legal professionals in Oklahoma when it comes to finding the right and useful solution for our immigration clients. Get in touch with our office today and start working on your case.