President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC 2017.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC 2017.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump reissued a temporary ban on refugees from six different nations (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a halt to the executive order’s implementation.

There are some noticeable changes. Iraq has been removed from the list. Trump in his executive order explained:

Iraq presents a special case.  Portions of Iraq remain active combat zones.  Since 2014, ISIS has had dominant influence over significant territory in northern and central Iraq.  Although that influence has been significantly reduced due to the efforts and sacrifices of the Iraqi government and armed forces, working along with a United States-led coalition, the ongoing conflict has impacted the Iraqi government’s capacity to secure its borders and to identify fraudulent travel documents.  Nevertheless, the close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically elected Iraqi government, the strong United States diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of United States forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment for Iraq.  In particular, those Iraqi government forces that have fought to regain more than half of the territory previously dominated by ISIS have shown steadfast determination and earned enduring respect as they battle an armed group that is the common enemy of Iraq and the United States.  In addition, since Executive Order 13769 was issued, the Iraqi government has expressly undertaken steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal.  Decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety.

The order provides clearer guidance as to who is exempt from the order.  It does not affect legal permanent residents of the U.S. or people holding a valid visa at the time his executive order was signed. It also exempted dual citizenship nationals traveling on a foreign passport and foreign nationals traveling to the United States for diplomatic purposes.

The previous order halts all refugees for four months. His earlier executive order barred refugees from Syria indefinitely.

“The federal government has a solemn responsibility to protect our people and our way of life from those wishing to do us harm. The President’s executive order continues efforts to guard our homeland from terrorism. Today’s executive order uses existing authorities to strengthen our national security, and also is carefully tailored to exclude lawful permanent residents and current visa holders. By clearly stating this order applies only to prospective visa holders, the President has addressed the crux of the Ninth Circuit’s concerns and should ensure the unintended consequences from the last order do not reoccur. The departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security should continue working together to ensure the order’s smooth implementation, to protect the rights and safety of the American people and our nation, and to identify individuals who are worthy of a case-by-case exemption,” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a released statement.

“Here in the United States, we are a nation of immigrants; from all parts of the world and all religions. Our diversity is our strength. However, at the same time, we absolutely must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect our homeland,” U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) said in a released statement. “A core function of the federal government is to ensure we keep our nation safe and secure. At a time of increased threats at home and abroad, it is important to reevaluate the quality and adequacy of the vetting processes we rely on for our refugee and visa programs. I am continuing to review the president’s order, but I am pleased that it does not include Iraqis who have supported U.S. military efforts.”

“Nevertheless, we must remain mindful that the key to addressing the current humanitarian crisis is by devising and executing a strategy to destroy ISIS. With this in mind, I look forward to hearing more about the counter ISIS plan from the Trump administration and hope it better engages our allies, correctly utilizes Special Operations Forces, and includes a global approach that is required to defeat and destroy ISIS in all parts of the world,” she added.

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