In a far-reaching move, President Trump orders permanent restrictions on travel from six Muslim-majority countries.
“Six of President Trump’s targeted countries are Muslim. The fact that Trump has added North Korea — with few visitors to the U.S. — and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban. President Trump’s original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list.”
— Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union
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 president’s first nine months in office.
Trump’s 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 Trump’s 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 ban’s challengers.
Here we answer some of the key questions about the new ban.
What is new about the latest 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. Trump’s 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 Trump’s 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.
Trump’s 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.