President Donald Trump on Monday signed an updated version of his controversial executive order banning travel from a number of majority-Muslim countries. Trump’s first attempt at a travel ban—signed on January 27—sparked major protests at airports around the country; key parts of the original order were ultimately blocked by federal judges.
The new order bars travelers from six countries—Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen—for 90 days, supposedly to give the administration time to improve vetting procedures for migrants. Travelers from those six countries who are outside the United States on March 16, the day the order takes effect, will be barred from entering the United States.
The new ban exempts Iraq, whose inclusion on the orginal list drew particular criticism. “Iraq presents a special case,” the order states. “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.”
The new order also includes exceptions for people who are legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals with US citizenship, people attending diplomatic missions, and people who have already been granted asylum or refugee status.
In addition, the order suspends admission of refugees from anywhere in the world for 120 days, though it permits exceptions to be made on a case-by-case basis. It also lowers the overall number of refugees who can enter the country to 50,000 per year, down from the 110,000-refugee limit that existed under the Obama administration.
“The United States has the world’s most generous immigration system, yet is has been repeatedly exploited by terrorists and other malicious actors who seek to do us harm,” the administration wrote in a fact sheet sent to Congress and published by the Washington Post. “The 90-day period will allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals.”
Despite the changes, Trump’s new order has provoked renewed outrage from immigrant rights groups.
“The president has said he would ban Muslims, and this revised version—in these preliminary fact sheets—still does that, even if they have removed Iraq from the list,” Gregory Chen of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told the Post Monday morning.
Several Jewish groups criticized Trump’s order Monday, including HIAS*—a nonprofit organization that works with refugees—which used its Twitter account to slam the updated order. noting that the “language has changed slightly, but the results are the same,” the group wrote that there “is nothing ‘temporary’ about a 120-day ban. It leaves innocent families stranded while their US-issued security clearances expire. This EO cripples America’s domestic refugee resettlement infrastructure while attempting to fix a system that is not broken. We will resist all attempts to vilify refugees. The U.S. Jewish community owes its very existence to a tradition of welcoming refugees.”
Read the new order below:
* Name corrected.