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Donald Trump rolls out Muslim Ban 2.0

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President Donald Trump Monday issued a new Muslim ban executive order that will temporarily halt entry to the U.S. for people from six Muslim nations who are seeking new visas, though allowing those with current visas to travel freely.

According to the Associated Press, Trump's new order aims to address legal issues with the original order, which caused confusion at airports, sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by federal courts. "President Donald Trump on Monday signed a new version of his controversial travel ban, aiming to withstand court challenges while still barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries and shutting down the U.S. refugee program," the AP said.

The revised Muslim ban order leaves Iraq off the list of banned countries but still affects would-be visitors from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya."

The Washington Post reported that even before the ink was dry Democrats and civil liberties groups asserted that the new order was legally tainted in the same way as the first one: It was a thinly disguised Muslim ban. That seems to portend more litigation -- though how soon remains unclear. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who had successfully sued to have the ban blocked, said in a statement that the rescinding of Trump's first ban showed it was "indefensible -- legally, constitutionally and morally." He said the state was reviewing its next legal steps and noted the president had "capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit."

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The Washington Post reported that even before the ink was dry Democrats and civil liberties groups asserted that the new order was legally tainted in the same way as the first one: It was a thinly disguised Muslim ban. That seems to portend more litigation -- though how soon remains unclear. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who had successfully sued to have the ban blocked, said in a statement that the rescinding of Trump's first ban showed it was "indefensible -- legally, constitutionally and morally." He said the state was reviewing its next legal steps and noted the president had "capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit."

State Department, Homeland Security and Justice Department officials defended the new order as a necessary measure to improve public safety, the paper said adding: They said the countries implicated -- Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen -- were either state sponsors of terrorism, or their territories were so compromised that they were effectively safe havens for terrorist groups. Iraq was omitted, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, because it is an "important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS," and its leaders had agreed to implement new security measures. U.S. officials declined to specify the countries of origin of the 300 refugees now being investigated in terrorism cases, and they declined to detail those people's current immigration status.

Immigration advocacy and civil liberties groups have vowed to fight the new Muslim ban. In a statement sent to reporters following Trump's announcement, Matthew Segal, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts said, "President Trump's original executive order stranded travelers, upended families, disrupted businesses and institutions globally, and faced many federal lawsuits. The ACLU of Massachusetts will closely monitor this new Executive Order and assess its validity."

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Tom Perez, Chair Democratic National Committee, described the new Muslim ban, like the last one, as unconstitutional. Perez was confident that the courts will rule against Donald Trump again soon.

Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, also described the new Muslim ban order "as much of an un-American, moral abomination as the first version we beat in the courts several weeks ago." He pledged to introduce legislation "to block this unconstitutional atrocity from going into effect." The new order is scheduled to come into force after two weeks. He went to say: "I know that my outspoken approach on issues like this makes me an enemy of the White House. It's why the media reported that Steve Bannon had his political department "looking into" me. That's fine, I take it as a compliment. Because at the end of the day, they are no match for millions of us fighting together. We're proving that in our protests, and we'll prove it when we win elections like mine this cycle."

Charles Kurzman, a sociology professor who studies violent extremism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was quoted by the Washington Post as saying that since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, there have been no fatalities caused by Muslim extremists with family backgrounds in the six countries covered by the new ban.

The new order will be more defensible in court.

According to Washington Post, the revisions to the order will make it more defensible in court -- limiting the number of people with standing to sue -- though the changes might not allay all the concerns raised by judges across the country. The three-judge panel with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, for example, said that exempting green-card and current visa holders from the ban would not address their concern about U.S. citizens with an interest in noncitizens' travel. The administration, too, will have to wrestle with comments by the president and top adviser Rudolph W. Giuliani that seemed to indicate the intent of the order was to ban Muslims from entering the United States, which could run afoul of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

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The Washington Post recalled that:

On the campaign trail, Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." After the election, Giuliani, a former New York City mayor, said: "So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.' "

A federal judge in Virginia referenced those comments in ordering the ban frozen with respect to Virginia residents and institutions, calling it "unrebutted evidence" that Trump's directive might violate the First Amendment.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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