Baltimore (WJZ) — President Trump has signed off on an updated executive order on travel. His administration hopes will avoid the uproar from the last one.
George Solis explains the changes and how they are being received by some right here in Maryland.
Critics are still calling it a “Muslim ban,” despite the changes officials say are necessary to keep out terrorists. Already there are talks of taking this latest order right back to the courts.
The executive action is now putting a stop to visas for citizens from six predominantly Muslim countries, instead of the original seven. They include: Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya.
“We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives,” says John Kelly, Department of Homeland Security Secretary.
The updated order now no longer applies to those who already have valid visas or U.S. Green cards.
Iraq is also now excluded from the list, after agreeing to increase vetting of their citizens.
“Iraq is an important ally in the fight to defeat ISIS,” says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Despite the changes, some Maryland Muslim leaders are fearful human rights will be violated.
“We are planning to challenge this in every way possible on constitutional grounds, on moral grounds, it’s not just the legality of it, it’s also the morality of it,” says Dr. Zainab Chaudry, with CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The original ban in January was met with serious backlash and confusion at airports everywhere including BWI.
Trump officials are hopeful that’s not the case this time around, given these changes and the later rollout date of March 16, but some still fear in the long run it’ll do more harm than good.
Monday officials with the Muslim organization CAIR came together to express their concern.
“To come up and to coat it in a different way, it still gives us the same feeling that this is a step towards banning Muslims,” says Dr. Rehan Kahn, with CAIR.
The executive order also suspends the entire U.S. Refugee program for 120 days, but it no longer singles out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban.
The white house does expect this version of the order to withstand any legal challenges that may come along the way and says the 6 countries in the order are either state sponsors of terrorism — or have lost control to terrorist groups like ISIS.