Trump issues new travel ban

One of Trump's first actions as the new American president was to issue a travel ban on immigrants from six predominantly Muslim nations, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, which caused chaos at airports across America before it was ultimately blocked by federal courts. There were protests in airports around american as travellers were detained. During this initial ban, lawyers set up crisis centres at airports, informing incoming travellers about their rights and providing legal support. It is estimated that in Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the majority of these lawyers working overtime to support these travellers were women. An editor from the Atlantic, Matt Ford, noted the same disparity at Washington Dulles Airport. It was clear to all that the ban was unconstitutional and went against the basic rights of those entering these American airports.

This sent Trump and his team back to the drawing board, where they came up with a new travel ban. This new order has some drastic differences from the first. Specifically, this new order no longer calls for a ban of travellers from Iraq, nor does it give refugees of a certain religious background first priority. The first order implied that only refugees that were religious minorities in their majority Muslim home nations would be given priority admission to the United States. This was faced with criticism as it would have required a test of religion, and prioritised Christian refugees over others.

This new ban also exempts natives of those six countries, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen who are already American citizens, including the many who had their American visas revoked due to the afore-mentioned chaos caused by the first ban. The restrictions from the new ban include a waiting period of 90 days for citizens of these countries hoping to obtain an American visa. Including the extremely strict process that is already in place for refugees from these nations, there will now be an additional 120 day waiting period, and US officials have been ordered to increase and reevaluate the vetting measures that are already in place.

"We cannot compromise our nation's security by allowing visitors entry when their own governments are unable or unwilling to provide the information we need to vet them responsibly, or when those governments actively support terrorism," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said of the ban in a speech on Monday, the day Trump signed the executive order. This was after a three-week process of delays, some of which were due to a team from the White House holding back on the order, concerned that it would hinder the positive response to Trump's successful speech to Congress. There was also a strong lobbying effort from Iraq, demanding that Iraq be removed from the list of banned countries. According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the ultimate removal of Iraq from the list only came after the State Department evaluated the decision, but his statement about the details of the process was vague. "The United States welcomes this kind of close cooperation. This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and our allies," he explained.

Despite Trump insisting on Twitter and elsewhere that this is not a Muslim ban, it's being referred to on the internet as Muslim ban 2.0. "As Trump administration officials have stated, this 'Muslim Ban 2.0' –- appears to be merely a retooled order aimed at the same long-stated goal of banning Muslims from entering the United States," Lena Masri, of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said of the new ban. The most notable changes between the two orders are the exception of Iraq from the rule, and the exemption of dual citizens who already possess American passports.

The exemption of Iraq is important, as there were many Iraqi travellers detained and sent home who had served the U.S Army, often as interpreters. Despite their service, travellers like Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who worked on behalf of the U.S Army for ten years, were detained. Darweesh filed a suit along with another man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, who was travelling to see his wife. She had previously worked for an American contractor.

Despite these changes, the ban is still clearly unconstitutional, and lawyers are already planning to fight back again. Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Centre understands that though the new ban will impact less people, it is still a clear violation to those that it does effect. "The second ban is still totally based on anti-Muslim animus. The courts are not going to give Trump the benefit of the doubt the second time around," he said. "We will be watching closely to see what happens at airports over the next few weeks."

 

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