President Trump is preparing to sign a new executive order Monday that White House officials hope can withstand legal scrutiny in imposing a 90-day ban on U.S. entry for new visa seekers from six majority-Muslim nations, according to a fact sheet the administration sent to Congress.
In addition, the nation’s refugee program will be suspended for 120 days, and it will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.
….The new order provides other exceptions not contained in previous versions: for travelers from those countries who are legal permanent residents of the United States, dual nationals who use a passport from another country, those attending diplomatic missions, and those who have been granted asylum or refugee status. It will attempt to outline a more robust national security justification; the fact sheet said 300 people who entered the country as refugees were currently the subject of FBI counterterrorism investigations.
The big difference here is that the Muslim ban applies only to new visa applicants, not to folks who already have a visa. In addition, Iraq has been removed from the list and green card holders are exempt. The temporary refugee suspension, which applies to every country, appears unchanged.
The problem, of course, is that despite the attempt to “outline a more robust national security justification,” past comments about wanting to ban Muslims are still on the record. However, considering that Trump has dawdled on this for five weeks, his lawyers ought to be pretty well prepped to defend it. And since it applies only to new visa seekers, it won’t produce anywhere near the chaos of the previous order. Unlike the January order, this one should probably produce a fairly quiet court fight, and not much more.