It seems like ancient history, but the original and replacement Travel Orders were meant to be temporary, to provide time for a security review.
Those Orders were demagogued as “Muslim bans” when they clearly were not. They applied to the seven highest risk countries for terrorist visa infiltration as identified by the Obama Department of Homeland Security. What ensued were outrageous lower and appeals court decisions against the Travel Orders that read frequently like political manifestos.
The Supreme Court put an end to most of the lower court shenanigans, and freed up the Trump administration to conduct its review. (There was more court action after that, which the Supreme Court again had to slap down.)
Now the security reviews have been completed, and new guidelines were issued tonight, with the wordy title,
Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats:
In Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States), on the recommendations of the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, I ordered a worldwide review of whether, and if so what, additional information would be needed from each foreign country to assess adequately whether their nationals seeking to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. This was the first such review of its kind in United States history. As part of the review, the Secretary of Homeland Security established global requirements for information sharing in support of immigration screening and vetting. The Secretary of Homeland Security developed a comprehensive set of criteria and applied it to the information-sharing practices, policies, and capabilities of foreign governments. The Secretary of State thereafter engaged with the countries reviewed in an effort to address deficiencies and achieve improvements. In many instances, those efforts produced positive results. By obtaining additional information and formal commitments from foreign governments, the United States Government has improved its capacity and ability to assess whether foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat. Our Nation is safer as a result of this work.
Despite those efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, has determined that a small number of countries — out of nearly 200 evaluated — remain deficient at this time with respect to their identity-management and information-sharing capabilities, protocols, and practices. In some cases, these countries also have a significant terrorist presence within their territory.
As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people. I am committed to our ongoing efforts to engage those countries willing to cooperate, improve information-sharing and identity-management protocols and procedures, and address both terrorism-related and public-safety risks. Some of the countries with remaining inadequacies face significant challenges. Others have made strides to improve their protocols and procedures, and I commend them for these efforts. But until they satisfactorily address the identified inadequacies, I have determined, on the basis of recommendations from the Secretary of Homeland Security and other members of my Cabinet, to impose certain conditional restrictions and limitations, as set forth more fully below, on entry into the United States of nationals of the countries identified in section 2 of this proclamation.
The new Order is permanent and goes on to detail country by country prohibitions and adds to the list of countries affected, to include Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia. The Permanent Travel Order has different restrictions by country.
For example, here is the one for Chad:
(i) The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas. Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion. Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
By contrast, the one for Syria is complete:
(i) Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and has been designated by the Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols, fails to share public-safety and terrorism information, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
(ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
Obviously anticipating more litigation, the Permanent Travel Order carves out limitations and exceptions:
Sec. 3. Scope and Implementation of Suspensions and Limitations.
(a) Scope. Subject to the exceptions set forth in subsection (b) of this section and any waiver under subsection (c) of this section, the suspensions of and limitations on entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall apply only to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:
(i) are outside the United States on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
(ii) do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation; and
(iii) do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of this proclamation.
(b) Exceptions. The suspension of entry pursuant to section 2 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any foreign national who is admitted to or paroled into the United States on or after the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation;
(iii) any foreign national who has a document other than a visa — such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document — valid on the applicable effective date under section 7 of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter, that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission;
(iv) any dual national of a country designated under section 2 of this proclamation when the individual is traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
(v) any foreign national traveling on a diplomatic or diplomatic-type visa, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visa, C-2 visa for travel to the United Nations, or G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visa; or
(vi) any foreign national who has been granted asylum by the United States; any refugee who has already been admitted to the United States; or any individual who has been granted withholding of removal, advance parole, or protection under the Convention Against Torture.
The usual suspects are already screaming racism and promising to fight it:
Don't be distracted. The travel ban was always rooted in bigotry and racism. Trump doesn't have me fooled. #NoMuslimBanEver
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 24, 2017
Trump’s travel ban 3.0 is here.
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) September 24, 2017
The fact that non-Muslim countries are on the list is being claimed to be a ruse to cover up anti-Muslim bias, and if not, it’s an attack on Hispanics! (because Venezuela is on the list)
— Marielena Hincapié (@MarielenaNILC) September 24, 2017
1. Muslim Ban still immoral and illegal. 2. Horrific using VZ to pretend not just Muslims + escalate attack on Latinos. #NoMuslimBanEver
— Daniel Altschuler ? (@altochulo) September 25, 2017
(added) The ACLU vows to keep up the court fights:
“Six of President Trump’s targeted countries are Muslim. The fact that Trump has added North Korea — with few visitors to the U.S. — and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban. President Trump’s original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list.”
So what happens to the pending Supreme Court case? It seems that so much of the case as sought an injunction against Travel Order No. 2 is moot, meaning there’s nothing left to enjoin. I’d have to dig deeper into the pleadings to know if the entire case goes away, but it seems that much of it will.
UPDATE: DOJ is requesting further briefing in light of new Permanent Trave Order, via Reuters reporter Lawrence Hurley:
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.