On Monday, March 6, President Donald Trump signed a new executive order titled, “Executive Order Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which revokes and replaces Executive Order 13769 (“Travel Ban”) and allows permanent residents and green card holders to enter the country but bans non-U.S. citizens from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen from coming into the United States. This executive order is set to be implemented on Thursday, March 16.
Unlike the previous executive order, issued on Friday, Jan. 27, the revised order does not include a ban on Iraqis traveling to the U.S., states that refugees from Syria will only be banned from receiving asylum for 120 days rather than the previous unspecified period of time and no longer contains a clause that allows persecuted religious minorities to receive asylum. The revised order also contains descriptions that explain why these countries are on the list. The order’s justifications revolve, primarily, around countries that are claimed by the State Department to support terrorism or contain areas of active conflict that have connections to designated terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaida.
The executive order states, “Since 2001, hundreds of persons born abroad have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes in the United States.” It does not specify if the individuals that were convicted were all from the countries that are to be banned from entering the U.S. or if they are from a variety of nations spanning across the globe. He later adds, “The Attorney General has reported to me that more than 300 persons who entered the United States as refugees are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The far-right newspaper, Breitbart, said in an article that an anonymous official from the Department of Homeland Security confirmed these numbers and that it is part of a larger investigation. Despite these claims, no other news source has been able to confirm this.
The new order is approximately twice as long as its predecessor, with the last half of the order consisting of the exact same content with some new additions, one being a more specific timeline for the Secretary of Homeland Security to report to the president.
In a telephone interview with the Highlander, translated from Arabic, Dana, a native of Syria who currently resides in the country, stated, “When I saw that (Trump signed the executive order), I felt angry that a sophisticated country, like the United States, generalizes that we are all bad or dangerous. It (the U.S.) needs to be a democratic country that is supportive, especially for people that are oppressed.”
At UCR, both the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) and UCR Vice Provost of International Affairs Kelechi Kalu, have condemned the revised executive order and reaffirmed their support for the UC’s international community. UCOP in an email to all UC students on Monday, March 6, declared, “While the new order appears less restrictive than the one it replaced, the UC remains deeply concerned that the new order, once it goes into effect on March 16, will still have a very serious effect on those who seek to study, train, research, and teach at UC and universities across the country, to the detriment of the UC community and the country as a whole.”
Third-year political science major, Carlos Serna, expressed his discontent with the executive order, telling the Highlander, “I had some serious concerns regarding the constitutionality with some of the things that he had put in there (the revised executive order). At first it did seem like it would fall under his executive power … but the more that I read into it, it just felt really misinformed and I felt that the way that it was going to be implemented wasn’t going to be effective.”
On Monday, March 6, Washington became the first state to sue the White House over the executive order. The following day, New York and Massachusetts joined Washington in the lawsuit with Hawaii joining on Wednesday. Virginia is also currently the plaintiff in a case where two Yemeni brothers were sent back to East Africa from Dulles International Airport despite the both of them possessing green cards. A Hawaii federal judge is set to hear testimony against the executive order on Wednesday, March 15, just before the order goes into effect.