New York, US (PANA) - US President Donald Trump on Monday issued a revised travel ban of his earlier Executive Order, which temporarily banned migrants and refugees from some major Muslim countries, including three African countries, namely Libya, Somalia and Sudan.
PANA in New York reports that the new ban, which goes into effect 16 March, no longer restricts travel from Iraq, one of seven listed in the original order.
The 90-day ban now is limited to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.
The new order also shuts down the US refugee programme for 120 days to give the US government time to develop "extreme vetting" procedures to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
It explained the extensive ties that each of the six countries have with terrorist organizations, from Iran’s support of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas to ISIS activities in Libya to an al-Qaeda offshoot operating in Yemen. The summaries also highlighted the active combat ongoing in Syria and Libya to make the case that immigrants from those countries cannot be properly vetted.
"In light of the conditions in these six countries ... the risk of erroneously permitting entry of a national of one of these countries who intends to commit terrorist acts or otherwise harm the national security of the United States is unacceptably high," the order read.
It, however, noted that Syrians are no longer subject to an indefinite ban, as they were under the first order.
It also stated that nationals of the six countries with legal permanent residence in the US (known as green card holders) are not affected, while people with valid visas as of Monday also are exempt.
The order no longer gives immigration preference to "religious minorities", such as Christians who claim they are persecuted in mostly Muslim countries.
PANA learnt that the White House spent weeks drafting the revised ban, coordinating with the US Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security to avoid the chaos that followed the 27 January order, which took off immediately and affected thousands of travellers around the world and at US airports.
However, this time, US federal immigration and security agencies will have 10 days to prepare before the order goes into effect.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a statement said: "It is the president’s solemn duty to protect the American people, and with this order, President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe."
"As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually reevaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country," he stated.
Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice also filed a letter with the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, explaining that Trump's new order "revokes" the first executive one.
That means the 9th Circuit may now drop the case against the first ban, leaving Justice to focus on defending expected legal challenges against the new ban.
While the goal of the executive order remains the same — keeping terrorists out — the administration made several other big changes to avoid being struck down in court.
It will be recalled that a federal judge in Seattle, US State of Washington issued a nationwide hold on the order after lawyers for travelers detained at US airports filed lawsuits. His ruling was upheld by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
US Federal judges who blocked Trump’s first executive order cited the lack of a national security justification throughout their opinions.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had during the hearing requested government lawyers to provide any examples of terrorist acts committed by immigrants from the banned countries to justify the ban.
-0- PANA AA 6March2017