On Monday, President Donald Trump signed Muslim Ban 2.0, a new version of his controversial travel ban. The ban aims to withstand court challenges, while still barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. The new order will also shut down the U.S. refugee program.
The revised travel order leaves Iraq off the list of banned countries, but still affects potential visitors from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.
Trump privately signed the new order Monday. The low-key rollout was a contrast to the first version of the order, signed in a high-profile ceremony at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes as Secretary of Defense James Mattis stood by Trump’s side.
The original travel ban caused immediate panic and chaos at airports around the country. Homeland Security officials scrambled to interpret how it was to be implemented. Travelers were detained before being sent back overseas or blocked from getting on airplanes abroad. The order quickly became the subject of several legal challenges and was ultimately put on hold last month by a federal judge. That ruling was upheld by a federal appeals court.
A More Narrow Focus
The revised Muslim ban is narrower. It specifies that a 90-day ban on people from the six countries does not apply to those who already have valid visas or people with U.S. green cards.
According to officials, 300 people who arrived in the United States as refugees were currently under investigation as part of terrorism-related cases. They pointed to those cases as evidence of the need for the travel order, but refused repeated requests to address how many of those people were from the six banned countries.
Trump administration officials say that even with the changes, the goal of the new order is the same as the first. That’s to keep would-be terrorists out of the United States.
According to a fact sheet on Muslim Ban 2.0, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the information the six targeted nations provide to the U.S. for visa and immigration decisions. Those countries will then have 50 days to comply with U.S. government requests to update or improve that information.
Additionally, the Muslim ban suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days. Refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
The new order will not go into effect until March 16.