The new Executive Order follows a review initiated by President Trump’s Executive Order of March 6, 2017. The review found that eight countries, Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen, had “’inadequate’ identity-management protocols, information-sharing practices, and risk factors” for screening entry into the United States and suspends the entry of most citizens of these countries on an indefinite basis beginning on Oct. 18. Precise guidelines under the new policy vary by country.
The original travel ban was set for 90 days for most citizens and 120 days for refugees. The current policy comes without an expiration date. A senior administration official told the Washington Postthat the restrictions were “necessary and conditions-based, not time-based.”
The new list eliminates Sudan from the original travel ban due to its improved cooperation on national security and information sharing. It also adds the nations of Chad, North Korea and Venezuela.
Iraq was also listed in the original travel ban, but was dropped in the March 2017 version. The current Executive Order notes, “The Secretary of Homeland Security also assesses that Iraq did not meet the baseline, but that entry restrictions and limitations under a Presidential proclamation are not warranted,” adding that nationals of Iraq may “be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States.”
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, the new Executive Order contains a number of exceptions. These include legal permanent residents, dual citizens, diplomats, people admitted prior to Oct. 18, and people who have been granted asylum. There is also a provision for waivers to be granted on a case-by-case basis.
Critics of the restrictions on immigration have argued that the policy is an unconstitutional implementation of the “Muslim ban” that Donald Trump proposed during the campaign. The Supreme Court upheld most elements of the prior version of the travel ban in June. The Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments on the previous policy on Oct. 10. At this point, it is uncertain whether the new policy will affect the case currently before the Court.
“The restrictions either previously or now were never, ever, ever based on race, religion or creed,’’ one senior administration official told the Washington Post. “Those governments are simply not compliant with our basic security requirements.”
Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute says that the policy will be expensive and ineffective, noting, “From 1975 through the end of 2015, zero Americans have been killed by foreign-born terrorists on U.S. soil who hail from any of the eight countries on the new executive order.” Nowrasteh adds, “Only nine terrorists from those countries have carried out an attack or actually been convicted of planning an attack on U.S. soil during that time.”
“Due to the high guaranteed cost of Executive Orders like these and the small potential security benefits, the administration should supply an excellent reason for this order along with sufficient evidence to demonstrate their claim,” Nowrasteh says. “It speaks volumes that they have not done so.”
The new Executive Order will undoubtedly face legal challenges, but the previous travel bans have survived judicial scrutiny largely intact. If the Supreme Court keeps its Oct. 10 date to hear the current travel ban case, the new immigration policy could be enacted more swiftly than its predecessors.