US President Donald Trump signed a new executive order today limiting the numbers and types of people allowed to enter the US.
The new travel ban keeps 90-day restrictions for citizens of Iran, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan from entering the US. It removes Iraq from the list of Muslim countries that were identified in the first executive order, which he signed in late January.
Under the revised order, current visa holders from the six barred countries will be exempt. Language that gave preference for admitting refugees of minority religions — which was seen by many as a way to favor Christians over other religions — was also removed.
No new refugee admissions will be considered for the next 120 days as the US Refugee Program is suspended, however refugees who already have made travel plans will be accepted. Syrian refugees are barred for 120 days, rather than “indefinitely,” as they were under the previous order.
The new order also reduces the total number of refugees the US will accept in the next year to 50,000, down from 110,000.
The new ban will go into effect at 12:01 AM EST on March 16, giving 10 days notice. The previous order went into effect immediately when it was signed.
The revised order also calls for data to be collected by the Department of Homeland Security across four areas, including gender-based violence. It specifically says “information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the United States by foreign nationals,” will be collected.
According to the Associated Press Trump met with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions Monday morning to discuss the new order before signing the revised order privately. The White House confirmed Trump signed the order.
The revisions come after a federal judge blocked the first executive order, and a court of appeals upheld the decision last month. The ruling followed weeks of protest, and mass confusion and chaos outside airports across the country.
The decision to remove Iraq from the list was aimed at improving relations and stability between Iraq and the US.
“On the basis of negotiations that have taken place between the government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State in the last month, Iraq will increase cooperation with the U.S. government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States,” Homeland Security officials wrote in a fact sheet given to reporters.
A Homeland Security official believes there will be no chaos this time.
“You should not see any chaos, so to speak, or alleged chaos, at airports,” a Homeland Security official told Politico.
There could however be larger implications on travel. Nigeria has already issued a statement warning citizens not to travel to the US after several Nigerians with valid visas were denied entry to the US, according to Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a Nigerian advisor on foreign affairs.
“Nigerians who have no compelling or urgent reason to travel to the U.S. to postpone their travel plans until the new administration's policy on immigration is clear,” she said.
Others, like New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, are already preparing to fight the new executive order.
“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,” said Schneiderman in a statement. "My office is closely reviewing the new executive order, and I stand ready to litigate — again — in order to protect New York’s families, institutions, and economy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is not backing down either.
And neither are we.