President Issues Revised Executive Order on Travel

President Trump signed a revised version of the Executive Order on Immigration yesterday, after the original order was blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court. The purpose of the order is to protect U.S. citizens from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nationals. It states that the U.S. will improve screening and vetting and the process of visa issuance. The revised order removes Iraqi citizens from the travel ban and scraps the provision that protected religious minorities. The order also suspends the refugee program for 120 days and lowers the acceptance of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 a year.

The initial executive order suspended the entrance of individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days, arguing that these countries had already been identified as presenting heightened concerns about terrorism and travel to the U.S. Under the authorities vested in him as president, the entry to the U.S. from the above mentioned countries would be restricted for a ninety day period, while the existing screening and vetting procedures were under review. In the revised document, President Trump states that his original order did not provide basis for discrimination against members of any particular religion, and that it was not motivated by animus toward any religion, but “was instead intended to protect the ability of religious minorities”.

In the newly revised order, Iraq has been removed from the list of banned countries after talks with security officials argued that the ban could undermine the stability of U.S. relations with Iraq.  Officials of the Department of Homeland Security wrote that “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 citizens applying for a visa to travel to the U.S.”. The new guidelines blocks the issuance of only new visas and details specific sets of people who may apply for case by case waivers to the order. The new revised order will take effect in March 16.