Trump Just Signed a Revised Travel Ban

The new executive order places a temporary travel ban on Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen, and moves the cap on refugees down to just 50,000 people.

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Mar 6 2017, 5:06pm

Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump on Monday quietly signed a new executive order that amounts to a revision of the controversial travel ban he imposed in January before the courts blocked it. 

The new version, which is set to go into effect March 16, suspends travel to people from six Muslim-majority countries—Syria, Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen—for 90 days, according to the Washington Post. The new order leaves Iraq—one of America's chief allies in the fight against ISIS—off that list after the country's government reportedly assured Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that its vetting process was strong enough. (Some US officials also apparently pushed for Iraq to be exempted, citing the cooperation of interpreters and others in ongoing operations there.)

The new ban also places a temporary 120-day ban on all refugees, removing the special restrictions placed on Syrian refugees who, under the original order, were banned from the country indefinitely. According to Politico, it also removes the earlier ban's language giving priority to Christian refugees seeking entry to the United States and lowers the cap on the total number of refugees the country will allow in from Obama's 110,000 per year to just 50,000. 

White House officials told reporters Monday that Trump would be consulting the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to see if he should add even more countries to a new travel ban once the 90 days are up.

Unlike the original order, which caused chaos at airports around the country, the new one allows travel by people from the listed countries who are legal residents, dual nationals, attending diplomatic missions, and have been granted refugee or asylum status. According to the fact sheet distributed to Congress Monday, it also says 300 people who have entered the country as refugees have gone on to become the subject of counterterrorism investigations, an apparent attempt to solidify the national security imperatives Trump has claimed are behind the order.

The revisions represent a clear attempt to make the order more legally sound after a panel of judges for the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a suspension on the ban that a federal judge in Seattle issued in early February. Still, immigration advocates think the new ban could face challenges in court. 

"In its oral argument before the 9th Circuit, the government was unable to provide any evidence to the 9th Circuit that acts of terrorism had been committed by the nationals of seven countries initially designated," Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told the Post. "That was an embarrassment, but now weeks later, in these preliminary fact sheets, they still have not explained why people from these countries pose risk to America's national security."

We're tracking the laws and executive orders Trump signs in his first year in office. The updated list is here.