Trump’s Travel Ban: What You Need to Know

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One of President Donald Trump’s first orders of business when he took office was to introduce a sweeping and widely-criticized travel ban that affected mainly Muslim countries and was viewed by many to be unconstitutional. In response, the Trump administration released a revised travel ban in March 2017 and a third iteration of the ban in September 2017.

The September ban, which went into effect in October and has already been challenged by numerous courts, affects certain foreigners from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The ban affects these countries in different ways.

North Korea and Syria

Entry as immigrants and non-immigrants is suspended.

Chad, Yemen and Libya

Entry as immigrants and non-immigrants on business, tourist and business-tourist visas is suspended.

Somalia

Entry as immigrants is suspended and non-immigrants traveling to the U.S. are subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.

Iran

Entry as immigrants and as non-immigrants is suspended, except under valid student or exchange visitor visa (with enhanced screening and vetting requirements).

Venezuela

Entry of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate families is suspended.

How Is This Different From The Previous Ban?

Trump’s initial plan was widely criticized for being anti-Muslim as it affected six Muslim-majority countries. Though the new plan has included North Korea and Venezuela, critics believe these were just thrown in to cloud the issue and the new ban is still Muslim-based. Furthermore, while the first ban was temporary and limited to 90 days, the new ban has no time limit and is condition-based.

Protesters rally against President Trump’s travel ban on February 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com

What Does This Mean For The United States?

Though no current, valid green cards, visas or travel documents will be revoked under the new plan, the ban has wide-reaching implications for the U.S.

The Trump administration stresses that the new plan will help secure our borders and prompt other governments who do not have strong screening methods to up their game.

However, critics say the ban is targeting those with certain religious beliefs and subjecting billions of peaceful people to rules based on a few violent and fanatical members of their countries.

The travel ban already has many Muslims questioning their plans to travel to the United States for business or pleasure. Even those who can legally enter the country will likely see our country as becoming increasingly hostile to Muslims and choose other countries to visit or do business with.

This could have enormous costs for our economy. It’s estimated that 4.5 million Muslims travel on an annual basis and their spending will reach $13 billion by the year 2020. If we do not welcome these visitors, another country will.

More importantly, judges say that a nationality-based travel ban such as this that targets eight nations and over 150 million people is unprecedented and could lead to further disturbing developments. Due to Trump’s statements since taking office regarding Muslims, critics believe the travel ban is tainted by religious animosity and is dangerously close to violating the Constitution, which prohibits a government-established religion.

Though challenged throughout the nation, Trump’s travel ban is already in effect, after the Supreme Court determined in December that the ban could take effect while the pending case makes its way through appeals courts. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor opposed the decision.