New Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect Wednesday, Barring Court Action
(VOA): Unless the courts intervene, President Donald Trump’s latest order restricting travel goes into effect Wednesday just after midnight Eastern Daylight Time. The order would largely ban travelers from seven countries and certain government officials from Venezuela. It also would subject Iraqi nationals to increased security screening before entry to the U.S. Protests were held in Seattle and Los Angeles on Sunday with more scheduled for Wednesday. And even before its effective date, the new travel order is being scrutinized in several courtrooms. A federal judge in Maryland heard arguments Monday, honing in on the government’s intent to block or severely restrict travel to the U.S. from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. In a 90-minute session, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang heard arguments brought by advocacy groups led by the International Refugee Assistance Project, which argue that the current travel order still amounts to a Muslim ban and that it exceeds presidential authority. Chuang asked about information the new, more targeted order was based on, specifically a classified Department of Homeland Security report that government lawyers have said was the basis for the new order. While Chuang blocked a key part of Trump’s second travel order in March, he did not indicate how he might rule. Nor did he say if he would issue a ruling before the order takes effect. In addition to the Maryland suit, challenges have been filed in Hawaii and Washington, among others. ‘Tough and tailored’ Trump said in the September 24 proclamation, announcing the new order: "As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people. The restrictions announced are tough and tailored, and they send a message to foreign governments that they must work with us to enhance security." The new ban dropped Sudan from the list, but added Chad, Venezuela and North Korea to the original six Muslim-majority countries. And in each case, the directives vary. For Syria and North Korea, all immigrants and visitors are banned. The same is true of Iran, except that students are exempted. Immigrants and people on business or tourist visas are blocked from Chad, Libya and Yemen. Visitors from Somalia may come to the U.S. while immigrants are barred. In the case of Venezuela, only certain government officials are disallowed. The September proclamation provides varying rationales for the new strictures, thought to be more defensible in court than something more sweeping: "North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements," the presidential declaration said. Venezuela was cited for failing to cooperate "in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats." U.S. officials also said the Caracas government does not willingly receive Venezuelans deported by the United States. Chad, a "valuable and important" counter-terrorism partner, failed to share terrorism-related and other public safety information, the proclamation said. Chad has responded by pulling troops from the fight against Boko Haram in Niger.
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