By Kate Burrows-Jones, World Media North America Editor
President Trump Executive order is but sharpening existing laws set by his predecessor President Obama restricting entry to nationals of seven nations. ( below also include links to the full text of the order and related subjects)
Fake news indeed. There is no Executive order banning Muslims. President Donald Trump’s, perhaps ill-founded, ill-fated 90 day ban is based on President Barack Obama’s restrictions on Seven nations. Nobody cared when he did it, so was it a Muslim ban then? The law was written to address security concerns after the Paris Attacks, passing with overwhelming agreement. Voting was bipartisan, it passed the House 407-19. What Trump did was apply a sharp force, a halt on movement, and cruelly with no notice to let people prepare. Let the people decide if it is wrong, but to call it “Muslim” in nature, is also wrong without reading the full executive order.
It is certainly a ban, even if it is short term, where Obama’s orders were highly restrictive. What it is not intended to be is a ban on Muslims, taking nothing away from the enormous distress it causes foreign nationals who are impacted. The White House has said it will treat greencard holders on a case by case basis, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau on Twitter. What has happened is a quietly accepted rigorous policy has been exercised forcefully to an outright ban, albeit temporary. That will do nothing to help those in limbo at airports and dual nationals from the selected nations who will face travel restrictions.
President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order “to protect the American people from terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.”
It suspends entry into the US of aliens based on an Obama Administration’s Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Protection Act of 2015 introduced by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI). It amended the US Immigration and Nationality Act. It was signed into law on December 18 of that year by President Obama as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act FY2015. US Customs and Border Protection has an FAQ on its website explaining the restrictions.
It reads “DHS remains concerned about the risks posed by the situation in Syria and Iraq, where instability has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including many from VWP countries. Such individuals could travel to the United States for operational purposes on their own or at the behest of violent extremist groups.
The U.S. Congress shares this concern, and on December 18, 2015, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016, which includes the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). The Act, among other things, establishes new eligibility requirements for travel under the VWP. These new eligibility requirements do not bar travel to the United States. Instead, a traveler who does not meet the requirements must obtain a visa for travel to the United States, which generally includes an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.”
Less than a year ago, also under President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security continued the program adding Libya, Somalia, and Yemen to a list of 7 countries, 8 US Code 1187 is the section of law.
What is new in the order is a 90 day ban on the countries listed in the act. The order directs agencies to come up with a vetting process. A ban on Syrian refugees is also new, until “sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”
In 2016 US civil rights groups complained about he restrictions on dual nationals. Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House and Senate — the Equal Protection in Travel Act of 2016 (H.R. 4380/S. 2449) — to repeal the restrictions on dual nationals.
It has nothing to do with business interests. If it is a Muslim ban, then it is Trump’s stiffening of President Obama’s Muslim restrictions advanced to be a temporary ban.
Useful further reading on this subject with special thanks to LawfareBlog.com