The Trump Administration has extended and expanded its temporary 90-day ban on travel from several majority-Muslim countries yet again, because apparently our country’s representatives still haven’t figured out what the hell is going on. The second version of the travel ban, still waiting for review from the Supreme Court, expired Sunday, so the administration issued a new, permanent ban on almost all travel from five of the six countries on the list and added two non-Muslim countries Donald Trump doesn’t like, so it’s not a Muslim ban anymore, shut up:
Starting next month, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be banned from entering the United States, Mr. Trump said in a proclamation released Sunday night. Citizens of Iraq and some groups of people in Venezuela who seek to visit the United States will face restrictions or heightened scrutiny.
Glad to see they took care of that problem with North Korean tourists coming here to do terrorism. One country from the original list, Sudan, has been removed, because the Sudanese government has met security conditions the administration asked for. Sudanese officials apparently guaranteed that travelers will not kneel during the national anthem at football games.
The new restrictions, announced by a “proclamation” instead of an “executive order” but totally the same thing, are allegedly more carefully tailored to each country, because apparently this time around someone in the administration at least talked to a lawyer:
stupidity and confusion of the first travel ban, people with current US visas will not be affected. Students and business travelers who are already in the US won’t be kicked out, but if those visas expire, they would be subject to screening under the new rules.
Each of the countries will be under its own set of travel restrictions, though in most cases citizens of the countries will be unable to emigrate to the United States permanently and most will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America.
Iran, for example, will still be able to send its citizens on student exchanges, though such visitors will be subject to enhanced screening. Certain government officials of Venezuela and their families will be barred from visiting the United States. Somalis will no longer be allowed to emigrate to the United States, but may visit with extra screening.
The new travel ban doesn’t affect refugees, for whom the president has an entirely different level of hatred; administration officials told the New York Times that new rules on refugees would be announced “within days.” This being the Trump administration, expect the new rules to exclude any refugees who are unable to afford a half-million-dollar investment in the Trump or Kushner property of their choice.
You may be shocked and astonished to hear that not everyone thinks Travel Ban III: The Marsupials (yes, it’s a Howling III joke) is a wonderful idea, or that tossing in all North Korean and Venezuelan government officials makes it magically not a Muslim ban:
“Six of President Trump’s targeted countries are Muslim. The fact that Trump has added North Korea — with few visitors to the U.S. — and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
“President Trump’s original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list,” Mr. Romero said.
Poppycock, said the unnamed administration officials, because the travel ban was never in a million years about Muslims, no matter what Donald Trump may have said a few hundred times during the campaign and whenever earlier versions of the ban were struck down by courts:
One official who briefed reporters on Sunday evening insisted that the president’s travel restrictions were “never, ever, ever” based on race, religion or creed.
We’re not entirely convinced. They probably should have added at least one more “ever.”