ACLU: Trump's Second Travel Ban "Shares The Same Fatal Flaws" as the First

Protesters at JFK denounce the Trump administration's travel ban.
Protesters at JFK denounce the Trump administration's travel ban.
Alex Flynn for the Village Voice

President Donald Trump signed a revised version of his travel ban on Monday, more than a month after the original executive order caused chaos at the nation’s airports and was ultimately blocked by federal courts.

According to a fact sheet sent to Congress and published by several organizations, the new order again bans travel from a number of Muslim majority countries — Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen — for ninety days from the date of its signing. The order does not ban travel from Iraq, as the original order had, and exempts green card holders from the named countries, a provision that was not explicitly included in the original bill.

Unchanged from the last order is a halt, for 120 days, to the refugee resettlement program. The timeline for both the travel and refugee provisions begins today, and therefore represents an effective extension of the order.

The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU], which is among the groups that filed successful legal challenges to the original order, said the revised ban would also face lawsuits.

"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 group said, in a statement attributed to Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. "The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban."

The second version of the order also elides some of the most noxious and confusion-inducing elements of the original, which was put in place with virtually no warning, and resulted in the deportation of an unknown number of people who had already been cleared for entry. The new order will not take effect for ten days, and those currently holding valid visas will be able to travel as planned. Also specifically exempted are legal permanent residents or green card holders. The new version of the order includes a new provision, titled "transparency," which purports to be a mechanism to keep the public informed about how the ban is functioning. The administration plans to publish a list of "foreign nationals" suspected or involved of terrorism repeated offenses, as well as acts of "gender-based violence against women" to include "honor killings."

The revisions are an attempt by the administration to avoid problems in the courts. In issuing a temporary restraining order in January, a federal judge in Seattle had focused in part on the haste with which the order had been put into effect. The Trump administration had initially vowed to fight the order, and Trump himself lashed out on Twitter at the judges who halted the ban.

But some of the changes seem to undermine their earlier arguments. The new version of the ban won’t take effect for ten days, for example, while the administration has earlier claimed that any ban needed to take effect abruptly, to prevent those with bad intent form sneaking on under the deadline.

The original order prompted massive demonstrations when it was put into place, with tens of thousands of protesters descending on airports throughout the country. For weeks, volunteer immigration lawyers camped out at JFK and other airports, offering free advice to travelers stranded or detained by DHS personnel.


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