President Donald Trump signed a new executive order Monday temporarily banning new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim countries. Here’s what you need to know.
The order suspends new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days and halts refugee admissions for 120 days. It’s similar to Trump’s Jan. 27 order, which a federal court suspended after Washington state sued.
Existing visa holders, green card holders and people who have been admitted to the U.S. and are currently allowed to travel here can still enter under the new order. It’s narrower in scope to avoid further court challenges. Dual citizens from one of the affected countries can also travel, so long as they use their passport from a nonaffected country.
Are there exceptions?
The order allows Customs and Border Protection officials to make case-by-case exceptions to the ban, and suggests several situations that might warrant them. They include people who have worked for the U.S. government, infants and young children, people needing urgent medical care and people with a previous connections to the U.S. who happen to be outside the country when the ban takes effect.
What about Iraq?
Iraq was removed from the list of countries included in the ban, in part because their government has agreed to cooperate with additional vetting and security measures.
When does it go into effect?
The order takes effect March 16 in an attempt to avoid any chaos like what was seen during the Jan. 27 order’s rollout, which led to green card holders being detained temporarily at airports and some students, doctors and other professionals being stranded outside the U.S.
What about refugees?
Trump set a cap of 50,000 on refugee admissions for 2017, significantly lower than President Barack Obama’s 110,000-person cap for 2016. But Obama’s 2016 goal was a historic high: The U.S. has set a refugee cap between 70,000 and 80,000 every year since 2007, according to State Department data.
Two of the six countries included in the ban are home to a large number of Spokane refugees. Last year, World Relief resettled 64 Syrian and 48 Somali refugees in Spokane. Iraqis led the list, at 106 resettlements.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his office was carefully reviewing the order to determine the next step in the federal lawsuit that stopped the original restrictions through a temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart and upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
But Trump “capitulated” on key provisions in the lawsuit, Ferguson said, including bans on green card holders, visa holders and dual citizens, an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees and preferences based on religion.
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