The replacement may be even more incoherent than the original
On Monday morning, with little fanfare and no press in sight, President Donald Trump signed his name on a new executive order meant to replace the much-maligned travel ban he first signed on January 27. Though there was some hope that the revised travel ban might be less problematic, Trump’s replacement is already drawing criticism.
Perhaps the most critical distinction between the two bans has to do with which nations were restricted. As part of the original executive order, Trump banned travel into the United States for 90 days for citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations: Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. With this new order, Iraq has been removed from that list and the clock will be reset, with the 90-day ban beginning March 16.
But dropping one nation from the ban doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been entirely softened. For instance, the executive order has called for an indefinite ban on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States. Below, find three of the ban’s most alarming elements.
It’s inherently racist
In Trump’s new order, travel will be banned from only the Muslim-majority nations. Iraq has been removed from the list of countries banned from entering the United States after pushback from the Department of State who noted Iraq’s increasing cooperation in the fight against ISIS.
In a fact sheet provided to reporters, Homeland Security officials wrote, “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.”
And the ban on travel becomes even more perplexing because the new order only bars non-Visa holders from entering the United States. However, even without this order, people without a valid visa from the six now-barred countries would not be allowed into the United States anyway. The new ban appears to only single out these nations and not the plethora of others who are barred from entry without a valid visa.
On the matter of racism the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project Director Omar Jadwat released a statement reading:
The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible. Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws. The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban. Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people. What's more, the changes the Trump administration has made, and everything we've learned since the original ban rolled out, completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind and only strengthen the case against his unconstitutional executive orders.
Prejudice rewritten is still prejudice. We tracked changes in the new #MuslimBan2 against the earlier #MuslimBan… https://t.co/p3epMgrw1e— ACLU Massachusetts (@ACLU Massachusetts) 1488819794
It’s harmful to refugees
Under Trump’s new order, refugees from Syria will once again be able to apply for protective status in the United States after 120 days, along with refugees from any other country.
Still, in the fiscal year 2017, the cap on eligible refugees that would potentially resettle in the United States will plummet from 110,000 to 50,000. When you consider the number of refugees around the globe has surpassed 60 million it may be time for the United States to step up its aid game.
One way to support those attempting to flee unsafe places is to continue support No Ban JFK, a completely volunteer group of lawyers, translators, and volunteers who came together to fight injustice for free at JFK airport in New York. In a Facebook post, the group notes,
“We also want to make it very clear to potential travelers that should you feel afraid to return to your home country, you have the right to relay that to Customs and Border Patrol agents. At that point CBP is required to offer you a credible fear interview to assess this and cannot send you home until they do so. If you or someone you know has been denied this interview, please reach out to us as soon as possible.”
U.S. residents are still at risk
The new order may have one silver lining—it no longer bans entry of green card or visa holders from the six targeted countries. “We’re talking about the future entry of individuals into the United States, we’re not talking about lawful permanent residents or folks who are already in the United States,” an administration official told The Huffington Post.
However, that doesn’t mean people living in the United States are safe. Take for example, the increase in deportation of illegal immigrants, along with the detainment of several young people protected under the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Daniela Vargas is one such person.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained the 22-year-old last week after she spoke out about the treatment of her now detained brother and father. Vargas was currently in the process of re-upping her DACA status when she was arrested by ICE agents who allegedly said, “You know why we are here,” in an apparent retaliation for her press conference.
“Today my father and brother await deportation, she said in her conference, “while I continue to fight this battle as a dreamer to help contribute to this country which I feel that is very much my country.”
While President Trump has stated he will show “great heart” to DACA recipients, he also campaigned on the promise to remove the very program.
The new travel ban will inevitably hit many of the barriers the first did, including a multitude of lawsuits and public backlash. As Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told Politico, “As long as there continues to be a ban, we will pursue our lawsuits. The discrimination that spurred the ban doesn’t simply disappear by the removal of a few words.”