Wall Street Journal
By Daniel Nasaw
March 6, 2017
President Donald Trump signed a new order limiting entry into the U.S. from a handful of Muslim-majority countries over national security concerns. The order would replace one signed Jan. 27, and is intended in part to ameliorate legal issues that led federal courts to pause the order almost as soon as it left the president’s desk.
Here are five major changes from the January version.
Iraq’s Off the List
The initial order temporarily suspended entry into the U.S. of travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen. But Iraq, which the U.S. invaded in 2003 and which is currently fighting the Islamist militant group Islamic State, is not to be included in the revised order.
That decision to remove Iraq came after lobbying by senior administration officials, diplomats and Iraqis, who warned that including Iraq risked doing lasting harm to bilateral relations at a critical moment in that fight. The revised order could ease complaints that it is wrong to shut out Iraqis who have served as translators along with U.S. forces who are leading the fight against Islamic State in Iraq.
“The close cooperative relationship between the United States and the democratically-elected Iraqi government, the strong U.S. diplomatic presence in Iraq, the significant presence of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Iraq’s commitment to combat ISIS justify different treatment,” the White House wrote in materials accompanying the new order.
The six other countries remain on the list, and their nationals who do not already have Visas are barred from entering the U.S. for 90 days, to “allow for proper review and establishment of standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals”.
No Religious Preferences
The initial order gave priority to refugees who were members of religious minorities, typically Christians, and claimed religious persecution. That led to concerns the executive order established a unconstitutional religious test for entry into the U.S.
“We need to be careful; we don’t have religious tests in this country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in January.
The new order doesn’t include language giving preference to religious minorities.
Syrian Refugees No Longer Barred Indefinitely
The first order declared “the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States” and barred their entry indefinitely. Syria is in the grip of a terrible civil war that has seen bombing of civilian areas by Russian and Syrian government warplanes, as well as the occupation of swathes of the country by Islamic State.
The new executive order will no longer indefinitely bar Syrian refugees.
Visa and Green-Card Holders Unaffected
The original order affected nearly 60,000 visa holders from the seven countries, and was unclear about its impact on legal permanent residents, so-called green-card holders. That led to temporary detention, travel delays and other headaches for green-card and visa holders seeking to re-enter the U.S. the weekend the first order was signed.
In addition, the federal appeals court said the effect on visa and green-card holders raised constitutional due-process issues, because they weren’t given advance notice of the policy or a chance to challenge their denial of entry into the U.S.
No visas will be revoked solely based on the order, the White House said.
The Jan. 27 order took effect immediately, wreaking chaos on the U.S. immigration and travel infrastructure. Today’s version takes effect on March 16, and does not affect individuals from the six countries who had valid visas at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 27. In addition, travelers who hold valid visas and are in transit will still be permitted to enter the U.S.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com