US president Donald Trump today signed a new travel ban on Muslim-majority countries, after worldwide outrage over the old travel ban.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the new order would take effect on March 16. The delay aims to limit the disruption created by the original January 27 order before a US judge suspended it on February 3.
But his new order will still impose a 90-day ban on all citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
The only country left off the list from the original seven is Iraq, whose government imposed new vetting procedures since the original order.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson backed the new order saying: “Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS.”
The original executive order banned all refugees for 120 days and suspended the Syrian refugee programme indefinitely.
There will still be a 120-day ban.
The leader of the minority Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said he expected the revised order to have the same uphill battle in the courts as the original version.
“A watered down ban is still a ban,” he said in a statement. “Despite the administration’s changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American. It must be repealed.”
And the order proclaims that admitting more than 50,000 refugees in 2017 would be “detrimental to the interests of the US”.
But this time Syrians will be treated the same way as other refugees, and refugees who are “in transit” and already have been approved will now be able to travel to the US, Reuters reported.
After outrage over the first order, this time the White House has made clear that green card holders and legal permanent US residents from the six countries will not be affected.
Anyone who had a valid visa to enter the US at 5pm EST on January 27 – the date of the original order – will be allowed in, as will those who have already been granted asylum.
And dual nationals will be allowed in if they are travelling on the passport of a non-banned nation.
There will be a string of case-by-case waivers for family members, young children, students already in the US, business travellers and people needing medical treatment.
But the visa interview waiver programme will be “immediately suspended”, bringing back interviews for many wanting to enter the US.
This time there will be a 10-day delay before the order comes into effect on March 16 at one minute past midnight.
The White House official told Reuters: “It is substantially different from the first order yet it will do the same thing in this important way: It will protect the country and keep us safe.”
The official told Reuters government agencies would determine if nations, including, Syria have made sufficient security improvements to be taken back into the refugee admissions program.
The new order is said to launch a 90-day period for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to define a new series of requirements for affected countries.
For countries that do not comply, the US State Department, the DHS and intelligence agencies can make recommendations on what, if any, restrictions should be imposed.
“It’s not an all-or-nothing scenario,” the official said.
The confusion caused by the previous travel ban led to a weekend of chaos, legal wrangling and protests in cities and at major airports across the United States.
- All citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen banned for 90 days
- All refugees for 120 days
- Any refugees over a cap of 50,000 this year
- US green card holders or legal permanent residents
- Dual nationals if they travel on a non-banned nation’s passport
- Refugees already granted asylum
- Some family members, young children, students already in the US, business travellers and people needing medical treatment, if they receive a waiver
Mr Trump publicly criticised judges who ruled against him and vowed to fight the case in the Supreme Court. He later decided to draw up a new order with changes aimed at making it easier to defend in the courts.