US president Donald Trump has signed a new executive order on travel which will temporarily halt entry to the US for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas.
Trump’s directive aims to address legal issues with the original order, which caused confusion at American airports, sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by federal courts.
Here’s what we know so far.
How is the revised order different?
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) March 6, 2017
The new order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen does not apply to those who already have valid visas, who can travel freely.
Trump Travel Ban: 90day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen. It doesn't apply to those who already have valid visas
— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) March 6, 2017
Which country was removed and why?
New Exec Order imposes 90-day ban on travelers from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Iraq removed from the list.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 6, 2017
The White House has dropped Iraq from the list of targeted countries, following pressure from the Pentagon and state department, which had urged the White House to reconsider given Iraq’s role in fighting Islamic State.
A fact sheet obtained by reporters cites negotiations which resulted in Iraq agreeing to “increase co-operation with the US government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States”.
An Iraqi spokesman said the change marks a “positive step” and shows Washington and Baghdad have a “real partnership”.
But is the goal of the order the same?
Trump administration officials said that even with the changes, the goal of the new order is the same as the first: keeping would-be terrorists out of the United States while the government reviews the vetting system for refugees and visa applicants from certain parts of the world.
According to the fact sheet, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the information the six targeted nations provides to the US for visa and immigration decisions.
Those countries will then have 50 days to comply with US government requests to update or improve that information.
Any other changes to the order we should know about?
Another change expected is that the order will no longer single out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. Syrian refugees will now be treated like other refugees and be subjected to the 120-day suspension of the refugee programme.
The new version is also expected to remove language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims.
So what exactly happens next?
Today's EO-"Effective Date. This order is effective at 12:01 a.m., eastern daylight time on March 16, 2017."
Pres Trump tweet from Jan 30 👇 https://t.co/14emN9NYC3
— Karen Travers (@karentravers) March 6, 2017
In an interview with Fox News, presidential counsellor Kellyanne Conway said the new order will not go into effect until March 16. That’s despite earlier warnings from the president and his team that any delay in implementation would pose a national security risk, allowing dangerous people to flow into the country.
Trump’s order suspends the entire US refugee programme for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry.
When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the US will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
Is the way Trump signed this order different to before?
Trump signs revised travel ban order.
Unlike other EO signings, no cameras present this time.
per WH aide to @PeterAlexander
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) March 6, 2017
Notably, Trump was not holding a public signing ceremony for the new measure.
Instead, several Cabinet secretaries – homeland security secretary John Kelly, secretary of state Rex Tillerson and attorney general Jeff Sessions – planned to discuss the order at an event on Monday.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer was not scheduled to hold an on-camera briefing on Monday either, leading to the appearance that the president was distancing himself from the order, which was a signature issue during his campaign and the first days of his presidency.
Lastly – are there any legal issues with the new order?
From a legal perspective, a lawyer notes, Trump still faces a major hurdle: the copious trail of him targeting Muslims specifically
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) March 6, 2017
Legal experts say the new order addresses some of the constitutional concerns raised by a federal appeals court about the initial ban. But they say it leaves room for more legal challenges.