President Donald Trump Monday signed a revised and scaled-down executive order banning entry to the United States by certain citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries.
Trump’s first order on Jan. 27, which applied to seven countries, was blocked by federal courts, first by a U.S. district judge in Seattle and then by a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The new executive order revokes the Jan. 27 order.
The ban, effective March 16, no longer applies to people from Iraq. It applies to visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The new order does not exclude people who have visas, are legal permanent residents of the U.S. or have dual citizenship.
It bars other visitors from those countries for 90 days to enable the Trump Administration to review screening procedures. It also suspends the nation’s refugee admissions program for 120 days.
The original ban resulted in chaos at U.S. airports and widespread protests.
A number of lawsuits were filed in federal courts around the nation to challenge the earlier order. The only one to reach a federal appeals court was a lawsuit filed by the states of Washington and Minnesota.
The U.S. Department of Justice appealed unsuccessfully to the 9th Circuit after losing before the trial judge in Seattle.
In its Feb. 9 decision, the appeals court said the executive order appeared to violate the due process rights of certain groups of people, including permanent U.S. residents, visa holders from the targeted countries and undocumented individuals already in the U.S.
The appeals panel also said the two states had raised serious constitutional questions regarding their claim of religious discrimination against Muslims, but said it was not deciding that question for the time being.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said in a statement today that the new order:
“… will make America safer, and address long-overdue concerns about the security of our immigration system. … We must undertake a rigorous review of our visa and refugee vetting programs to increase our confidence in the entry decisions we make for visitors and immigrants to the United States,” Kelly said.
A spokesman for the Washington state attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment on whether a challenge to the new order is planned.
The American Civil Liberties Union claimed Trump’s action continues the alleged religious discrimination of the previous order.
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, predicted the order will face disapproval from the courts.
“The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, also weighed in on the new order, calling it:
“… the same ban, with the same purpose, driven by the same dangerous administration that weakens our ability to fight terror. … The White House has desperately sought to invent an after-the-fact justification for its baldly prejudiced and unconstitutional Muslim and refugee ban.”
“The President claims he is strengthening our security, but his administration’s dangerous and incompetent actions are making America less safe, not more.”