Politics

Donald Trump releases revamped and watered down ‘travel ban’

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travel ban

After his first Muslim  ‘travel’ ban was struck down by a federal appeals court, Donald Trump issued out round two of the ban Monday morning. In fact the executive order was issued out by a team that included Attorney General Jeff Sessions, secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

No Trump, no Oval Office cameras which could only signify – when you’re dealing with Trump at least – a political defeat.

So what does the new ban entail?

First Iraq was removed from list of predominately Muslim countries. Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya on the other hand remain on the list and will face a 90-suspension of visas as the Trump administration continues to ‘analyze vetting procedures’. What’s funny is extreme vetting procedures have always been in place, especially when it comes to refugees. In fact the United States is a notably really hard country to gain access to because of the vetting procedure that were put into place well before Trump was elected.

As far as Iraq being removed from the list, Homeland Security said:

“On the basis of negotiations that have taken place between the Government of Iraq and the U.S. Department of State in the last month, Iraq will increase cooperation with the U.S. Government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States,”

We’re still not clear what that increase in ‘cooperation’ is when it comes to vetting Iraqi citizens. Tillerson, Kelly and Sessions failed to clarify that during today’s presser rolling out the new executive order.

The new ban also removes any religious priorities, excludes individuals already holding visas, drops an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and instead stretches that particular stipulation to 120 days. 2.0 will also be rolled out on March 16th which is odd considering Trump in early February was stressing just how important it was to roll out the travel ban given the great threat our country is under from terrorists.

Once again too, this has zero relation to President Obama‘s 2011 rollout of a perceived ban on Iraqi citizens entering the United States. First it wasn’t a sweeping halt on the stoppage of immigrants from specific countries entering the U.S.. Obama was reacting to a specific threat by a few Iraqi individuals in the United States who were suspected of carrying out an IED attack in their native country. Because of this Obama issued what some would like to say was a ban on Iraqi citizens entering the country while visa procedures were reviewed.

Only it wasn’t a ban. It really wasn’t even a halt. It considerably slowed the flow of Iraqi citizens from entering the country on a visa for six months. In fact Iraqi citizens on visas were still entering the United States during that six month period.

Plus, the idea that Trump’s travel ban was just piggybacking off Obama’s 2011 list of seven countries is still completely taken out of context and is another example of how that 2011 order is not relevant here. Yes it’s true Obama did sign an amendment to the visa waiver program however that amendment focused on what was really a loop-hole for individuals of seven counties (Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Lybia, Sudan and Yemen) that held a dual citizenship to say a country like France or the United Kingdom. Prior to Obama signing that amendment, a dual citizen of Syria and the United Kingdom could enter the United States without a visa since the United Kingdom is listed on the list of countries in the visa waiver program. The amendment required those dual citizens to obtain a visa before entering the country. Unlike Trump it didn’t completely stop entry.

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