Trump’s Revised Travel Ban

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The so-called travel ban does bear innumerable similarities to the Muslim ban in its measures and provisions despite the fact that the Trump Administration spent a month revising the order in response to the legal freeze enforced on the Muslim ban. Arguably the primary difference is that, in accordance with Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s recommendation, Iraq has been removed from the list of Muslim-majority nations. Secretary Mattis explained, according to White House officials, that keeping Iraq in the list only served to hinder steps taken to dismantle ISIS. As such, the travel ban pertains to six Muslim-majority nations instead of seven.

This revised ban temporarily halts the U.S. refugee program, and it applies to Somalia, Syria, Iran, the Sudan, Yemen, and Libya. A critical change, though, is that the travel ban no longer singles out Muslims on a religious basis by way of preferential status offered to so-called “religious minorities,” which was a provision in the Muslim ban that was criticized as being a means by which to admit other religious groups and, thereby, isolate Muslims for rejection. The travel ban also exempts those with visas and those with permanent residence in the United States, which the Muslim ban did not do. These are significant changes to the language of the ban as well as its implementation that genuinely address aspects of what was cited in the Washington state appellate court in the ruling against the ban.