By L Whitener
Donald Trump signed a new travel ban affecting people from six majority-Muslim nations Monday, an effort to replace the original executive order that was struck down in court.
At an earlier press announcement, Secretary of state Rex Tillerson characterized the order as “temporary restrictions” and refused to open the floor to reporters for questions.
DETAILS OF THE NEW TRAVEL BAN
The ban halts entry for 90 days for people from six Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The administration described three of the nations on the list — Syria, Iran and Sudan — as state sponsors of terrorism.
The new travel ban removed Iraq from the list of nations previously listed in the earlier ban. Tillerson explained the exclusion by stating that Iraq is an important ally in the fight against ISIS. He then commended the Iraqi government for enhancing travel documentation.
THIS IS WHERE IT GETS UGLY:
Additionally, Trump’s order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for the fiscal year 2017.
Other changes made include no longer singling out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. Syrian refugees will now be treated like other refugees and be subjected to the 120-day suspension of the refugee program.
The new version also removes language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims.
What that means is that the minority religious tenant and extreme vetting measures that Trump promised on the campaign trail have been eliminated from the Syrian refugee entry criteria.
This new measure is a stark contrast to what he said after signing the first executive order.
After the initial 120-day suspension the program will, barring any additional revisions, continue as it has since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program and the current national standard for the screening and admission of refugees into the country.
The only clear difference is that rather than accepting 110,000 refugees, as the Obama administration allowed last year, Trump issued a cap of 50,000 entries through the end of 2017. Beyond 2017, there is no information yet that the number of refugee entries will be limited.