Iraq removed from the list of banned countries
AFTER a federal court shut down his controversial travel ban last month, President Donald Trump on Monday, March 6 signed a new executive order that will impose a 90-day travel ban from six Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The much narrower travel ban, Executive Order 13780, also includes a 120-day suspension of the refugee program, which also will not accept more than 50,000 refugees per year. The Obama administration had set the limit at 110,000 per year.
“Under these authorities, I determined that, for a brief period of 90 days, while existing screening and vetting procedures were under review, the entry into the United States of certain [individuals] from the seven identified countries — each afflicted by terrorism in a manner that compromised the ability of the United States to rely on normal decision-making procedures about travel to the United States — would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” read the executive order, which was released on Monday.
Notably, Iraq was removed as one of the previously-banned countries, the executive order calling the country a “special case”, acknowledging the Islamic State’s (IS) influence in the region but trusting the “cooperative relationship” between U.S. military forces and the Iraqi government.
“Nevertheless, the close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected Iraqi government, the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of United States forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq,” the order read.
The original travel ban affected all immigrants — including permanent residents of the U.S. — from the banned countries. The revised order exempts those who currently hold visas and those who held visas at the time the first ban was imposed.
As it stands the ban only applies to “foreign nationals of the designated countries who are outside the United States on the effective date of this order, did not have a valid visa at 5:00 p.m., eastern standard time on January 27, 2017 and do not have a valid visa on the effective date of this order.”
Another change in the revised order states that allows current visa holders who would’ve been affected by the previous order to apply for waivers. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found the previous ban unconstitutional because it violated the right to due process; in other words, the ban didn’t give sufficient time for those affected by the ban to respond or seek legal assistance.
The administration argues that this executive order — called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” — will effectively keep out individuals who may pose a threat to the country.
However, critics argue that the statistics don’t support the claims the administration is making regarding the supposed national security risk of refugees and individuals from these nations.
As the Asian Journal previously reported, a recent study by bipartisan think tank New America showed that 84 percent jihadist terrorist attacks that transpired on American soil compared to those of non-residents and individuals of unknown statuses, who comprise 16 percent of all jihadist terrorist attacks.
Former 2016 presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) expressed his contempt for the travel ban — which has been commonly referred to as a “Muslim ban” — in a statement released on Monday, calling the order “racist” and ineffective in maintaining national security.
“This ban is a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to divide us up. A president who respected our traditions of religious freedom would not have resorted to hateful, anti-Islamic rhetoric to justify a ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries,” Sanders wrote. “This isn’t about keeping America safe. A president responsible for keeping our citizens safe would not hand over ideological ammunition to terrorists seeking new recruits to kill Americans.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) also condemned the travel ban for wrongly targeting “the most vulnerable and voiceless in our society — refugees and immigrants.”
“Make no mistake: this ban does not keep us safe,” Harris wrote in an email urging her supporters to co-sponsor a bill she authored to guarantee legal assistance for refugees targeted by the Trump administration.
“It puts American lives at risk while isolating the Muslim community at a time when we need to address the threat of homegrown extremism,” she added. “No matter the changes, this executive action remains immoral and fundamentally un-American.”
Legal and civil rights organization Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA), which has been strongly against Trump’s immigration policies, denounced the
“The latest executive order is just as dangerous and unconstitutional as the administration’s first attempt at implementing a Muslim ban,” Christopher Lapinig, Skadden Fellow at Advancing Justice – LA, told the Asian Journal. “After federal courts across the country roundly rejected the first travel ban, the administration has made small tweaks to the ban’s provisions, hoping that this iteration will survive judicial review. I am hopeful that the courts will see through this ruse and strike down the new order as illegal.”
However, the Trump administration affirms its stance that the executive order is necessary for the nation’s security.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believes that the ban “will bolster the security of the United States and her allies.”
“To our allies and partners around the world: Please understand this order is part of our ongoing efforts to eliminate vulnerabilities that radical Islamist terrorists can and will exploit for destructive ends,” Tillerson said in a speech on Monday. “The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies and implement these temporary restrictions in an orderly manner. Our embassies and consulates around the world will play an important role in making sure our nation is as secure it can be.”