Trump Issues New Travel Ban on Six Majority Muslim Countries
President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday, restricting travel from six majority Muslim countries, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The order is a revised version of his initial travel ban issued in January that caused chaos and confusion at airports around the country. Trump signed the January order in a public viewing and then called for it to be implemented the same day. The signing of this order, however, took place in private and is set to be rolled out in the next two weeks.
This new directive has made significant changes to the prior order. While the first ban restricted travel of people with valid visas from those countries, this one instead suspends any new visa processing for the next 90 days, the New York Times reported.
It also bars all refugees for the next 90 days and caps the number of refugees for the 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, down from former President Barack Obama's cap of 110,000. The order no longer includes Iraq on the list of countries, citing the risk of undermining relations with Iraqi allies as well as Iraq's pledge to cooperate fully with the U.S. government.
“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, according to the Washington Post.
Opponents of the initial executive order criticized it as a "Muslim ban," as all of the countries on the list were Muslim majority. Trump has since removed language from the new order that makes reference to any preference for Christian travelers or refugees.
A federal judge first suspended the ban in February, and a San Francisco federal appeals panel later held up that decision, effectively suspending implementation of the order. By changing the wording and scope of the order, the White House aims to prevent further such legal challenges.
"This is not a Muslim ban in any way shape or form,” a senior Homeland Security official told Politico, speaking on condition of anonymity.