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Trump's New Travel Ban: Same as the Old Travel Ban?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on March 06, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Just over three weeks after his previous executive order banning individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States was unanimously blocked by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump issued a revised executive order designed to avoid the political and legal fallout of the last one.

So will the new travel ban be any more palatable to protestors, politicians, and, most importantly, the courts? Here's a look at three major changes, along with some of the justification for the immigration order.

1. No Re-Review

Much of the upheaval from Trump's original travel ban was based on the entry prohibition and detention of travelers who already had a valid green card or visa. But the new executive order won't affect people who've already been granted legal entry into the U.S., either as permanent residents or temporary visa holders. (Those whose visas have expired, however, will need to reapply, likely under more scrutiny from immigration officials.)

The rewritten Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States will reportedly not affect current green card holders, or those who have been issued visas and have yet to travel to the U.S. Therefore, the Trump administration can avoid the spectacle of widespread detention of people at airports that sparked protests and marred the rollout of the previous order.

2. No Iraq

The new executive order retains the 90-day hold on issuing visas to people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. But Iraq is notably removed from the visa blacklist in the new version. According to Reuters, a senior White House official said the change was due to the Iraqi government imposing its own new vetting procedures, "such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants."

People from the six listed countries may still apply for waivers to enter the U.S. within the 90-day ban, if they can demonstrate particularly urgent circumstances.

3. No Refugees

Trump's new order also keeps the 120-day ban on any and all refugee admissions, with an exception for refugees already "in transit." But the revised travel ban dropped another exception for refugees who were members of "persecuted religious minorities" in their home country (which, in this context, meant Christians in those majority Muslim countries). The administration here is seeking to avoid legal challenges claiming the immigration order is based on religion.

Another difference in the new refugee ban is lifting the indefinite prohibition on Syrian refugees -- after 120 days, refugees will be allowed to enter the U.S. from any country under the new order.

No More Reasons

The Washington Post reported that White House officials "attempted to lay out a more robust national security justification for the order" this time around, citing 300 people who had entered the country as refugees and were now implicated in counterterrorism investigations. Those same officials, according to the Post, did not indicate which countries those people came from, or their current immigration status.

We'll soon find out whether these reasons and the alterations cited above will make a difference, legally speaking.

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