Trump’s latest travel ban: what’s new, who’s covered, and why now?
On Sunday, the Trump administration issued its third travel ban in less than a year and some key revisions make it more expansive than its predecessors
On Sunday evening the Trump administration issued its third travel ban in less than a year, opening yet another chapter in the heated legal and civil rights battle that has dominated much of the presidents first nine months in office.
Trumps ban has gone through many iterations, from a chaotically implemented first attempt that was blocked by a series of federal courts, to a streamlined version that was refined even further by the supreme court and eventually allowed to come into effect in June.
With all the legal challenges, policy revisions, and Trumps own incendiary rhetoric on immigration, it has been hard to keep up with what has often felt like a set of ever-evolving restrictions. In the latest twist, the supreme court announced on Monday it had cancelled arguments on the ban set for 10 October, asking for updated briefings from the government and the bans challengers.
Here we answer some of the key questions about the new ban.
There are some key revisions to this ban that make it more expansive than its predecessors.
The restrictions now target more countries than before. Trumps last ban was aimed at travellers from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees. The new ban now targets the issuing of visas for citizens of eight countries, five of which Syria, Iran, Somalia, Yemen and Libya were included in Trumps first two bans, and three of which North Korea, Chad and Venezuela were added in the latest ban. The order will also place Iraqi travellers under additional scrutiny, but does not ban entire visa classes as it does with the other eight nations.
Trumps first and second ban sought to freeze the issuing of visas from the targeted countries for 90 days to allow the Department of Homeland Security to assess worldwide screening and visa vetting procedures.
By contrast, the new restrictions announced on Sunday are essentially indefinite, although the administration has said it will review them if the targeted countries improve co-operation with the US government.
The president had to issue the new order by Sunday, as the 90-day freeze on visas, which had been heavily revised by the supreme court, was due to expire at midnight.
Trump received the DHS vetting report, which examined almost 200 nations, last week and chose to target the eight countries and Iraq because they remain deficient with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices.
Sudan had been included in the previous two bans but was dropped this time by the administration without any specific explanation. The presidents proclamation says that the DHS vetting review led to some improvements and positive results in certain countries, but again provides no specific detail.
Advocates have suggested that the DHS decision to end temporary protected status for Sudan last week, which gave immigration status to Sudanese citizens in the US due to ongoing conflict in the region, may have had something to do with the decision. According to Becca Hella, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, it suggests the government of Sudan was pressured into agreeing to accept massive numbers of deported Sudanese nationals from the US in exchange for being dropped from the travel ban.