All You Need To Know About Donald Trumps Ban On People From Six Countries
Source:�theguardian | Image Courtesy: nbcnews

All You Need To Know About Donald Trump's Ban On People From Six Countries

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US President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13769 on 27 January 2017. After issuing controversial orders on healthcare, international agreements, building a wall on the Mexico-US border, abortion, and clean energy, Trump issued an order on immigration that has raised eyebrows around the world and precipitated further massive protests in the United States.

The executive order initially imposed a travel ban on people from seven countries in the Middle-east. Following chaos, legal challenges and massive protests, the initial ban was revoked. A second ban that was relatively refined and included six countries was issued on 6 March. Less than two weeks later, a US District Court struck down even the redrafted order.

On 26 June 2017, the US Supreme Court reinstated key provisions of the ban, allowing it to partially take effect. The apex court will hear the case in October and decide whether to allow the ban to take effect in its entirety ot to strike it down completely.

What are the essential provisions of Trump’s executive order?

The executive order is titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”.

  • It bans entry into the United States of citizens from seven countries in the Middle-east.
  • These countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
  • It will be in effect for a duration of 90 days for all these countries except Syria, for which it will be in force indefinitely.
  • The order also suspends the US refugee admissions programme for 120 days.
  • The travel ban took effect immediately. It affects 134 million people from the seven countries, all of which are Muslim-majority countries.
  • After initial confusion, the Trump administration clarified that Green Card holders were exempt from the ban; additionally, there are some case-by-case exceptions.
  • A lawsuit was filed against the order by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The lawsuit was partially successful. Federal courts in Brooklyn and Boston suspended parts of the order, providing temporary relief to those affected.
  • Protests erupted across the US against Trump’s order, with crowds especially intense at airports.
  • There are widespread allegations that the travel ban is, in fact, a Muslim ban, though the US government has denied these allegations.
  • During his campaign for the Presidency, Trump had called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States, citing national security concerns.
  • Many have viewed the developments of the past few days as a constitutional crisis – the first faced by the Trump administration.
  • Meanwhile, Trump has reiterated his intentions to secure America’s borders and has insisted that the ban is “working out very nicely”.

What is Trump’s argument for the travel ban?

The order is self-explanatory. It reads: “In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles … It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States, and to prevent the admission of foreign nationals who intend to exploit United States immigration laws for malevolent purposes.”

Why only these seven countries?

The US government has deemed that the level of terrorist threat to the US is deemed maximum in the seven countries mentioned in the executive order.

Also, contrary to popular belief or media hysteria, these seven countries were not chosen by the Trump administration. The same list was drawn as far back as February 2016 by the Department of Homeland Security: “The Department of Homeland Security today announced that it is continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of concern, limiting Visa Waiver Program travel for certain individuals who have traveled to these countries.”

Therefore, the fact that the Middle-eastern countries where Trump has business interests (like Egypt and Saudi Arabia) are not included in the ban despite having anti-American elements is interesting to note but also irrelevant.

In the redrafted executive order, Iraq was dropped from the list of countries from where foreign nationals would be denied entry to the United States.

How will the order impact America’s refugee intake?

Regarding the admission of refugees under the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), Trump’s order stated: “I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”

America’s contributions to mitigating the Syrian refugee crisis have already been criticised as insufficient and half-hearted, even during the Obama administration. Under Trump’s government, it has suffered further. The executive order on Friday reduced the acceptance of refugees: “I hereby proclaim that the entry of more than 50,000 refugees in the fiscal year 2017 would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I determine that additional admissions would be in the national interest.”

Travel ban or Muslim ban?

  • All the countries in the executive order are Muslim-majority countries.
  • However, the text of the executive order does not explicitly mention any religion: it is a blanket ban on all nationals from the seven countries.
  • Trump has said he will give priority to Christian refugees over Muslim ones. He took to Twitter to say that “Christians in the Middle-East have been executed in large numbers. We cannot allow this horror to continue!”
  • At the same time, he said, “This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.”
  • White House cybersecurity advisor and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani stated on live television that Trump had asked him how he could enforce a Muslim ban “legally”.

How have world leaders reacted to the travel ban?

The reaction to Trump’s travel ban by world leaders and personalities was, while prominently critical, also divided. In Europe, for example, leaders in power criticised the move while surging populist parties supported it.

British Prime Minister Theresa May initially declined to comment on the ban (she was the first foreign leader to meet Trump, from whom she elicited assurances for closer ties and a stronger NATO). She met Trump on the same day that he signed the executive order. Two days later, May broke her silence and said that the UK government did “not agree with this kind of approach and it is not one we will be taking”.

The response from Berlin was icy. Angela Merkel has been visibly plain about her distrust of Trump’s agenda, repeatedly calling for inclusion over protectionism. Following the ban, the Chancellor said the global fight against terrorism was no excuse for the measures and “does not justify putting people of a specific background or faith under general suspicion”. The response was similar from France and the Arab League.

The response from Iraq and Iran was predictably negative. The Iranian Foreign Minister criticised the move at length on Twitter. He said the ban would be “recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters”.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered asylum for the refugees turned away by the ban. He said, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”

The national security argument – will the travel ban decrease terrorist threats against the US?

Whether the ban will decrease, increase or not affect the terrorist threat against the United States is yet to be seen. The ban will remain in effect for 90 days, and reports on the ban’s consequences and progress are to be submitted to the White House by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security.

Trump celebrated the SC verdict, issuing a statement where he said the decision allowed him “to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland”. White House

With the US Supreme Court having reinstated key provisions of the executive order, the ban is slated to go into effect and will remain partially in effect until October, when the Court will convene for its fall session. It is then that it will hear arguments regarding the ban and pass its judgement regarding the same. The Court ruled that in the meantime the ban would apply for all foreign nations from the aforementioned six countries except for those with a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States.

[NOTE: This article was updated to include information regarding the US Supreme Court’s per curiam decision to partially reinstate the travel ban on 26 June.]

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Editor : Sudhanva Shetty Shetty