It's been dubbed "Travel Ban 2.0" and some are even calling it a "sequel." But US President Donald Trump's new executive order banning the citizens of several Muslim-majority countries is still as controversial as the original one.

Trump signed the original executive order banning refugees in January, soon after taking office.
Trump signed the original executive order banning refugees in January, soon after taking office.

Trump signed the revamped executive order on Monday, weeks after the previous one was blocked by federal courts on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.

That travel ban also created a mess at international airports, and left thousands of legal US residents uncertain about their futures in the country.

The revised travel ban apparently addresses all legal misgivings; and the Trump administration is so confident the executive order would stand that a White House official said they wanted it to have its "own moment."

Is it really a "new" ban?

It's not exactly an overhaul, just slightly different and it comes into effect on March 16.

It can still be termed a "Muslim ban" as all the countries that would be affected by this executive order have a Muslim-majority.

The only difference is that instead of seven, there are only six countries on the list: Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Iraq has been excluded.

Why just Iraq?

"Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS, with their brave soldiers fighting in close coordination with America's men and women in uniform," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Tillerson said the Iraqi government would be implementing "multiple security measures to prevent those with criminal or terroristic intent from reaching the United States."

He did not go into details about the measures.

Iraq lobbied intensively to get itself off the travel ban list, CNN reported. The Iraqi foreign ministry expressed its "deep satisfaction" with the new order.

Protests continue against the order amid hopes that it will once again face legal challenge. (Reuters)
Protests continue against the order amid hopes that it will once again face legal challenge. (Reuters)

What about dual nationals?

Dual nationals from any of the six countries are good to travel to the US as well, provided they use a passport that is not from a "designated country." This means a dual national cannot fly to the US on a passport from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

US citizens, green card holders, and current visa holders are also exempt from the list.

Are refugees still barred?

Yes; for 120 days.

The only difference is that refugees from Syria would no longer be barred indefinitely as was the case with the original executive order.

Refugees who have already been granted asylum will be allowed to enter the US.

The Department of Justice estimated 60,000 people had their visas revoked by the first order but senior administration officials said on Monday those visas were now valid again for entry into the US. Source: AFP
The Department of Justice estimated 60,000 people had their visas revoked by the first order but senior administration officials said on Monday those visas were now valid again for entry into the US. Source: AFP

Is it legal this time?

"The Trump administration has conceded that its original Muslim ban was indefensible. Unfortunately, it has replaced it with a scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws," said director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, Omar Jadwat.

Immigration experts said the wording of the new executive order and its clarification of why these six countries are being considered a security risk are all key elements designed to soften the blow and withstand legal challenges.

"Any order that applies to fewer people, especially fewer people with strong US ties, will be more likely to withstand judicial scrutiny," immigration policy analyst with the Cato Institute, David Bier, said.

The original ban resulted in more than two dozen lawsuits in US courts.

The Department of Justice estimated 60,000 people had their visas revoked by the first order but senior administration officials said on Monday those visas were now valid again for entry into the US.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he expected the revised order to have the same uphill battle in the courts as the original version.

Source: TRT World