Today, President Trump signed his third immigration-related Executive Order (EO), entitled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." The main points of the EO include:
- Individuals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are banned, for period of 90 days, from entering the U.S., even if they are Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders) or if they possess valid nonimmigrant visas. The EO contemplates that the travel ban can be extended beyond 90 days at the President's discretion and additional countries could be added to the list if warranted by national security concerns.
- All refugee admissions are suspended for a period of 120 days while screening procedures are reassessed. Syrian refugee admissions are suspended indefinitely.
- Suspension of the visa interview waiver program that was in place at U.S. consulates worldwide, meaning that all U.S. visa applicants regardless of country of nationality or citizenship must appear in person for their visa interview.
- A general directive to develop expansive changes to screening processes that would apply to all immigration programs, although no specific details were provided.
ELLIS PORTER ANALYSIS:
This EO is extremely misguided and will likely be challenged on Constitutional grounds. The Trump administration has not provided any specific compelling rationale for why an incredibly broad ban on the entry of any and all individuals from these seven countries can be justified based on national security concerns. Inclusion of Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holders) in this travel ban is very problematic.
It is also very troubling that this EO includes language that strongly suggests an anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Trump administration. The seven countries included in the EO travel ban are all predominantly Muslim countries, yet no foreign nationals from these countries have been responsible for terrorist-related activities on American soil.
The EO's suspension of the refugee program in the name of national security is also very troubling and misguided, as individuals who are admitted to the U.S. as refugees are already subject to "extreme vetting" that can last up to 5 years before they are cleared to enter the U.S.