US President Donald Trump has issued a revised, narrower travel ban than his previous executive order that was blocked by US federal courts, this time temporarily excluding citizens without already-issued visas from six countries from entering the US for 90 days starting March 16.
Iraq has been dropped from the list of countries included in the ban, which now includes Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban will not take effect until March 16. Legal permanent residents, or “green card” holders, from the six countries will not be included in the ban. Travelers holding already-issued valid visas will also not be included.
The new executive order is an attempt by the Trump administration to impose travel restrictions on citizens of the six countries without causing confusion among airlines and at airports, and without running afoul of the US federal judiciary. The previous executive order, issued Jan. 27, went into immediate effect, was a surprise to airlines and led to dozens of travelers—including green card holders—being detained at US airports.
US homeland security secretary John Kelly said March 6 that “there should be no surprises” this time, noting he had “spent much of the day on the phone with members of Congress” briefing them on the new executive order. Kelly appeared briefly at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson and US attorney general Jeff Sessions to unveil the new executive order.
“As always, carriers are guided by the laws of the land and are complying with the directive,” a spokesperson from Airlines for America (A4A) told ATW. “We appreciate the administration’s clear guidance on the scope of the executive order, and establishment of a timeline for implementation to avoid significant impact to our air travel system and the customers we serve.”
An IATA spokesperson added, “IATA advocates for borders that are open to people and trade. IATA also recognizes that states have the right and duty to protect their citizens by enforcing their borders. We welcome the advance notice and coordination with industry before the effective date of the travel restrictions.”
Tillerson said “positive engagement” with the Iraqi government had led to an “intense review” that has enabled Iraq to be dropped from the countries included in the travel ban. “The United States welcomes this kind of close coordination,” he said.
Tillerson said the new executive order would be implemented “in an orderly manner” and is a “vital measure for strengthening national security.” He said Trump had exercised his “rightful authority” in issuing the executive order.
Sessions said the travel ban creates a “needed pause” to “put in place enhanced screening and vetting processes” for citizens traveling to the US from the six countries. Kelly said DHS is engaged in a “vigorous review of our immigration vetting process” related to the six countries.