President Donald Trump said he’d be back with a new, improved travel ban and, true to his word, he has signed a new executive order aimed at preventing people from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The last ban caused chaos in airports, disrupted the lives of many people, sparked outrage on social media, global protests IRL and provoked complicated legal debate about what was and wasn’t constitutional. Eventually, it was overturned and finally blocked by a federal court.
The new order places a 90-day ban on people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen but, this time, not Iran. It also includes a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the US, which will come into effect on March 16th.
Trump’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary, John Kelly, justified the ban by saying ‘the fact remains that we are not immune to terrorist threats and that our enemies often use our own freedoms and generosity against us.’
Embattled Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who has had to recuse himself into a Congress inquiry into Russian involvement in last year’s US election, said that more than 300 refugees were currently under investigation for potential terror offences. However, as the BBC notes, he gave no further details or evidence of this.
The timing of this new ban is unsurprising given that Trump is currently facing serious scrutiny over his team’s alleged links with Russia. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that he is attempting to put out legislation that is true to his original campaign agenda in an attempted show of strength. As discussed yesterday, Trump is a master of diversion and deflection.
Whether this executive order will hold its ground legally remains to be seen. A number of elements make it somewhat more likely to last than the President’s last attempt at border control, namely the fact that refugees who are already approved by the State Department can enter the country, the fact that Green Card holders are not affected, as well as the lifting of the indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria. Unlike last time, this ban does not take immediate effect. There’s over a week before it takes effect.
That said, it’s unlikely that Trump is going to have a smooth ride on this one. New York’s Attorney General has already threatened legal action saying ‘while the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear. This doesn’t just harm the families caught in the chaos of President trump’s draconian policies – it’s diametrically opposed to our values, and makes us less safe.’ He’s not the only one, the Attorney General for Massachusetts has also been critical of the ban and David Miliband has said the ban targets ‘the most vulnerable’.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.