The new order leaves out many of the most forceful points from the original one. But tens of thousands will still be affected.
When the Trump administration signed an executive order on Jan. 27 blocking travel to the U.S. by permanent residents and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority countries, protests erupted around the country and dozens of lawsuits were filed. After federal judges struck down the ban, the administration went back to the drawing board.
Trump signed a new order on Monday with little fanfare ― no cameras were even present ― that represents a backdown of monumental proportions: The only travelers banned are those without visas from six nations ― Iraq was scratched from the list. And with or without this order, those without visas were already barred from traveling to the U.S.
The new order represents a major political defeat for the Trump administration, which decided to shove aside the dozens of lawsuits that were filed after the first order was signed and just sign a new order. Top Trump officials significantly watered down their language this time around. Gone were the overt mentions of “extreme vetting” and rooting out “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“The U.S. has a right to control who enters our country and to keep out those who will do us harm,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday. He did note that more than 300 people who came into the country as refugees are under investigation for potential terror-related charges.
Yet, some of the first order’s core tenets are still in place. The travel ban on non-visa holders from the six targeted countries ― Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ― is still in effect for 90 days. And the refugee resettlement program will still be disbanded for 120 days, even though there’s no singling out of Syrian refugees. And the total number of refugees who can enter the U.S. this fiscal year will still go down from 110,000 to 50,000.