DENVER – President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on immigration Monday that revises his initial order that banned immigrants from seven predominantly-Muslim countries.
The new order contains some differences from the initial order, which was signed in January, but was challenged by federal judges in Washington and Minnesota. The suspension of the order was upheld by a federal appeals court.
Visa holders, permanent residents not subject to new order
Most importantly, the new order allows people who held visas from Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen as of March 16 to remain in the U.S. while their visas are valid. Green card holders and lawful permanent residents are also not subject to the new order.
Refugees from Syria will also only be banned for 120 days under the new order; they had previously been banned indefinitely.
But the ban on the six remaining countries will remain in place.
The new order also says that the attorney general reports that more than 300 refugees in the U.S. are currently the subject of counterterrorism investigations.
Visas issued before March 16 valid; anyone blocked under first order allowed
The order also says that all immigrant and nonimmigrant visas issued before the new order takes effect on March 16 will be valid – a facet the administration put in to avoid the confusion that happened during the first order’s rollout.
It also says that anyone who had a visa revoked or canceled because of the first order will “be entitled to a travel document” that allows that person to travel and seek entry to the U.S.
“Any prior cancellation or revocation of a visa that was solely pursuant to Executive Order 13769 shall not be the basis of inadmissibility for any future determination about entry or admissibility,” the new order says.
New EO won’t roll out for 10 days
Chaos reigned at American airports in the days after the first executive order was signed, as dozens of people – possibly more – were detained for questioning for up to days on end as the Department of Homeland Security and immigration officials sorted out exactly how to apply the new order.
The president had said he wanted the ban to take place immediately at the time to keep “bad dudes” out of the country.
The new order will not take hold until 12:01 a.m. on March 16 – 10 days from its Monday signing.
Old order will be revoked
Though President Trump tweeted that he would “see you in court” after the Washington appeals court upheld a suspension of his first executive order, that isn’t going to happen – at least in regards to the old order.
The new order revokes the old order entirely as of March 16. But several groups, including the ACLU, have already said they would challenge the new order in court as well.
The new order mandates that if any part of it is deemed invalid, the rest of the order would not be affected.
Iraqis removed from banned list
The new order also removes Iraq from the list of countries from which immigrants are banned from coming to the U.S. According to reports, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis were among those advocating to drop Iraq for the list because of the country’s role in fighting ISIS.
Iraqis who received special immigrant visas for helping translate for U.S. and other NATO troops were still allowed into the U.S. under the initial order.
No language prioritizing religious groups
Part of the reason the federal judge tossed the original order was because administration officials had in the past referred to it as a “Muslim ban.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday the new order does not target Islam in particular, saying it is “not any way targeted as a Muslim ban” and a “lawful and proper exercise of presidential authority.”
Bennet, DeGette have issues with revised travel ban; Gardner and Lamborn support
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D- Colo., both issued statements Monday condemning the revised order, just as they did with the original.
“The president’s revised executive order does nothing to fix its most fundamental flaw – that it undermines American values,” Bennet said in a statement, adding that the ban was an “absurd campaign promise.”
“The temporary ban continues to contradict our nation’s proud history of welcoming people, regardless of religion, and does nothing to bolster our national security,” his statement continued.
DeGette had a similarly-pointed response.
“We will not be fooled. The president’s tweaks to the previous, failed ‘policy’ don’t make it any less egregious,” she said in a statement to Denver7. “This directive still singles out immigrants from Muslim-majority countries, block refugees needlessly – capping their numbers at an arbitrary level – and endangers our country by alienating people around the globe as well as insulting Muslim-Americans.”
She pointed to an internal memo from DHS obtained and reported by The Associated Press toward the end of February that said citizenship was an “unlikely indicator” of whether or not someone was prone to committing a terrorist attack.
“Why is the president ignoring even his own experts’ findings?” DeGette wondered in her statement.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said in a statement to Denver7 Monday afternoon he had “significant problems” with the old order and that he was reviewing the new one.
“I had significant problems with the Administration’s overly broad executive order announced in January and my staff and I worked tirelessly to help Coloradans who were affected by its unintended consequences. While I am still reviewing the details of the revised executive action, it appears that it establishes a stringent vetting system for individuals from a limited number of countries. I remain in favor of improving our immigration system, and I look forward to learning more about the President’s action to strengthen our country’s vetting process.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said in a statement he supports the revised order.
"I appreciate President Trump and his team revisiting this vitally important issue of foreign terrorist entry in the United States," he said, in part, in a statement to Denver7.