White House prepares new travel ban
President Trump was set this week to unveil a revised version of his controversial travel ban targeting immigrants from seven Muslimmajority nations, likely with a tighter focus so it can pass muster with the courts. A U.S. District Court judge earlier this month blocked the original travel ban, which temporarily halted all refugee entry to the U.S. and barred citizens from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. That decision was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump, who has promised to implement “extreme vetting” for immigrants and refugees from terrorist hot spots, called the ruling “ridiculous.” His new order is expected to apply to the same seven countries, but with exemptions for green card holders, some visa holders, and those who are already en route to the U.S. when the ban comes into effect. White House adviser Stephen Miller said the new order would achieve “the same policy outcome” as Trump’s initial travel ban.
Advocacy groups pledged to challenge the new order in court. “As long as there continues to be a ban,” said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the ACLU, “we will pursue our lawsuits.” The Justice Department said the original ban would be rescinded, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer insisted that the administration would continue to fight the order’s suspension in court.
What the columnists said
This proposed revamp would do a lot to “judgeproof the ban,” said Dara Lind in Vox.com. Green card holders enjoy basic constitutional and legal protections that other noncitizens lack; exempting them makes the executive order harder to challenge under due process laws. But because of Trump’s repeated campaign promises to institute a Muslim ban, some judges who’ve heard the case so far have concluded that the order was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. That could make it unconstitutionally discriminatory. “A revision of the ban might make it less sloppy, but it wouldn’t change that animus.”
Trump’s past comments are irrelevant, said Eric Posner in The New York Times. The Supreme Court has made it clear that if a president has a “facially legitimate” reason to act on immigration—in this case, national security—judges shouldn’t “look beyond” that reason. These legal and constitutional questions will almost certainly have to be resolved by the country’s highest court, said Ed Kilgore in NYMag.com. In the meantime, expect “plenty of legal maneuvering” and “more explosions of rage at the judiciary” from the president.
Whatever Trump does on immigration, it’ll prompt angry protests and “endless stories of families detained,” said M.G. Oprea in TheFederalist.com. But it’s worth remembering that the first executive order was in fact supported by a majority of Americans. These people aren’t “racist or Islamophobic.” They’ve seen immigrants committing terrorist attacks in Europe, and they want to prevent that from happening here. There are two “legitimate viewpoints” on this issue that “reflect two increasingly different Americas.” Each side should at least “try to understand the other.” ■