Trump's Travel Ban Is Back and the Fight is Still On
How people leave and enter the country is on the line once again, but the new ban is not a done deal.
Images via Wikimedia Commons
Once again, what feels like several years' worth of news happened over the weekend, and between the Hail Mary attempt at repealing the ACA and Trump ignoring Americans in desperate need of emergency relief in Puerto Rico to instead pick a fight with the NFL and possibly take us to brink of nuclear war, we haven't been talking enough about the new travel ban. On Sunday night, when the current version of the ban expired, administration officials announced a new one.
The six countries on which the Trump administration had previously proposed travel restrictions has been updated to eight. Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen remain; Sudan is out; North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela are in. Immigrant admission from all of those except Venezuela will be suspended indefinitely; some nonimmigrants from Venezuela, as well as Chad, Libya, and Yemen may be able to enter. Nonimmigrants from Syria and North Korea are banned across the board. Iranians with student or exchange visitor visas may be allowed in under certain circumstances.
Superficially, the additions of North Korea and Venezuela mark a change in tone from the previous ban, which exclusively targeted Muslim countries.
In theory, the new ban makes allowances for those with family or strong business ties to the United States, but it remains to be seen how much latitude it will actually grant once in effect. If you have dual citizenship with a banned country, a Green Card, or a visa that's been issued before October 18, 2017, the restrictions shouldn't affect you; but again, the exact parameters of the ban in that regard haven't been satisfactorily defined.
Superficially, the additions of North Korea and Venezuela mark a change in tone from the previous ban, which exclusively targeted Muslim countries. But no one really believes that this is about a crackdown on the epidemic of incoming North Korean terrorists. You know how many North Koreans actually immigrated to the United States in 2016? Nine. So despite a representative telling reporters that the additions of North Korea and Venezuela have nothing to do with distancing the travel ban from its perception as a 'Muslim ban,' you can draw your own conclusions there.
Since the new fiscal year begins October 1, Trump will likely propose a new cap on refugee admissions -- from anywhere in the world -- by that date (this is technically unrelated to the travel ban; his previous attempt at global refugee restriction expires October 24. ).
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Meanwhile, the Supreme Court was scheduled hear arguments against the existing version of the ban on October 10, but has since canceled. If this version does indeed take effect, it will do so on October 18.
This is the third version of the travel ban; Iraq was initially included in the first list Trump issued earlier this year, but soon dropped to leave the second version that stands today; it's present in the proposed third version in the form of additional screenings, though not as comprehensive as those slated for the aforementioned eight countries. And this version isn't different solely because of the pointless additions of North Korea and Venezuela, but because the restrictions proposed are now indefinite -- in the previous versions, they were not.
This is the third version of the travel ban.
The fact that the new list now includes the non-Muslim North Korea and Venezuela, countries from which travel is pretty much already indefinitely restricted anyway, does not make this no longer about discriminating against immigrants based solely on their faith. This is still a Muslim ban. It is Islamophobic, it is impractical, it is immoral, illegal, and deeply, inexcusably un-American. The only difference is that it's now dressed up to stand a better chance of making it through the courts without being ruled unconstitutional, the charge that's rightfully sunk it in the past.
Representatives for Hawaii, California, and New York -- states which have been at the forefront of the resistance to each form of the ban all year -- are already taking steps to review the new version's legality. Prominent artists are also uniting behind the Guggenheim to oppose the ban.
But you can help in a number of ways. Join the National Immigration Law Center's grassroots #NoMuslimBanEver campaign in events and forums it's currently organizing across the country, culminating on October 10 in Washington, D.C. They're hosting their next Twitter Town Hall on September 27th at 1 p.m. EST; you can also catch it on Facebook Live.
The National Iranian American Council is accepting donations to fund a lawsuit against the ban, and its sister organization NIAC Action is preparing to lobby. The legal advocacy group Muslim Advocates is accepting donations. The ACLU, no stranger to fighting Trump bans of dubious constitutionality, released a statement responding to the new restrictions immediately -- if you haven't already set up a recurring monthly donation, 'tis now the season for doing so. And if you have a minute, dropping a line with your elected officials in DC, both Senators and Representatives, won't hurt either.