With President Trump’s travel ban set to expire this weekend, there’s a lot of speculation as to what will happen next.
It’s been reported that the Trump administration plans to replace the existing travel ban with a set of very specific countries with certain restrictions and that the White House will let the existing ban expire as planned.
Though the previous order did already list specific countries, I guess the speculation is what’s next for them. The following are bits and pieces of that order… more specifically why the original countries were banned in the first place.
(i) Iran has also been linked to support for al-Qa’ida and has permitted al-Qa’ida to transport funds and fighters through Iran to Syria and South Asia. Iran does not cooperate with the United States in counterterrorism efforts.
(ii) Libya. Libya is an active combat zone, with hostilities between the internationally recognized government and its rivals. In many parts of the country, security and law enforcement functions are provided by armed militias rather than state institutions.
(iii) Somalia. Portions of Somalia have been terrorist safe havens. Al-Shabaab, an al-Qa’ida-affiliated terrorist group, has operated in the country for years and continues to plan and mount operations within Somalia and in neighboring countries.
(iv) Sudan. Sudan has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1993 because of its support for international terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas.
(v) Syria. Syria has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1979. The Syrian government is engaged in an ongoing military conflict against ISIS and others for control of portions of the country. At the same time, Syria continues to support other terrorist groups.
(vi) Yemen. Yemen is the site of an ongoing conflict between the incumbent government and the Houthi-led opposition. Both ISIS and a second group, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), have exploited this conflict to expand their presence in Yemen and to carry out hundreds of attacks.
The administration’s critics expressed deep reservations about the new restrictions and left open the possibility that they will file additional legal challenges once the list of countries is revealed.
“We tend to look at anything coming out of this White House with a great deal of skepticism,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “While it has been clear that a neutral vetting system across the board needs to be looked at on its merits, this seems to be a third rescue of the failed Muslim ban.”
Countries that did not meet those standards as of mid-July were given 50 days to comply or face the threat of severe travel restrictions, officials said.
“It was crystal clear,” Mr. Taylor told reporters on Friday. To countries who failed to meet or accept the new requirements, Mr. Taylor said, the message from American diplomats was blunt: “You will face potential consequences from the United States.”
The ban caused chaos at airports around the country and prompted a torrent of criticism from immigrant rights activists, lawmakers in both parties, business executives, academic leaders and diplomats from around the world.
A furious legal assault on the president’s travel ban delayed its implementation for months, as federal judges agreed with immigrant rights groups that the original ban unconstitutionally targeted a particular religion or exceeded the president’s statutory authority to block immigration. In June, the Supreme Court allowed the travel ban to take effect, with some significant restrictions, while the justices consider the merits of the case.
Some counterterrorism experts say a targeted vetting system that screens individuals on a case-by-case basis makes more sense than a total ban on travelers from certain countries.
“Vetting those coming to the United States against the broadest array of intelligence and law enforcement information is good security. Banning people because of their religion, ethnicity or country of origin is not good security and counter to our constitutional principles,” said John D. Cohen, a professor at Rutgers University and a former senior Homeland Security Department official during the Obama administration.