The new executive order faces constitutional challenges
NEARLY a month after promising the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a tweet he would “SEE YOU IN COURT”, Donald Trump has staged a lawyerly retreat from his addled executive order of January 27th. On March 6th the president revealed a fresh attempt to “protect the nation from foreign terrorist entry”. The new order retains the original order’s core—limiting access to America’s shores for people from several Muslim-majority countries, and putting the refugee programme on hold—but has been softened in four key ways.
First, the order exempts America’s lawful permanent residents—“green card” holders—from any travel restrictions. (The original order barred permanent residents visiting any of the banned countries from returning to the United States.) Second, whereas the first travel ban was implemented at the stroke of the presidential pen—causing chaos and confusion for people on flights to America when Mr Trump signed the order—the revision will not take effect until March 16th. Third, the revised order applies only to future visa applications, not to people already holding valid visas—or who manage to secure one in the next nine days. Fourth, the list of seven banned countries has been whittled down to six: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraq has been struck from the list in response to arguments from the State Department and the Pentagon that many Iraqis are active participants in the war on the Islamic State. “[T]hose Iraqi government forces that have fought to regain more than half of the territory previously dominated by ISIS”, the order says, “have shown steadfast determination and earned enduring respect as they battle an armed group that is the common enemy of Iraq and the United States”. This alliance, together with Iraq’s enhanced vetting procedures in recent weeks, “justif[ies] different treatment for Iraq”.