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A Sneak Peek at Trump’s New Travel Ban

Leaked information suggests a new travel and refugee ban is in the works. We look at how the ban might affect people we’ve talked to.
Photo showing a Syrian family walking through O'Hare airport in Chicago

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf walks with her family as she leaves O’Hare on February 7th, 2017, in Chicago, Illinois.

After an appeals court suspended parts of President Donald Trump’s executive order banning certain travelers and refugees from entering the United States, the White House promised it would come up with a revised ban that would pass legal muster. Today, the Wall Street Journalpublished details on what the new order might look like.

The order is not yet in effect and may still change before it’s signed. Journalists reported that Trump was supposed to sign it today, but the administration delayed, in part so that it wouldn’t interfere with the positive coverage he received for his speech to Congress last night.

Below are some highlights from the Wall Street Journal about the expected new ban, alongside notes on how each provision would affect the refugees and travelers Pacific Standard talked to in the wake of the passage of the original executive order last month.

  • The travel ban will likely apply only to new visa applications from citizens of Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia—not to folks who already have visas. Note that Iraq may be dropped from the list of seven targeted countries. This revision would reduce the chaos that occurred after the original executive order, when travelers who thought they had all the right paperwork were nevertheless stopped at airports around the world. Had this provision been in place in February, Pacific Standard interviewee Mustafa Mousa would have had no trouble flying to visit his family in Columbus. The fiancé of interviewee Mariela Shaker, however, may still have had his visa application summarily denied.

  • The new order, like the original, is expected to temporarily halt refugees from entering the U.S. Unlike the original, it isn’t expected to single out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban.

  • The new order may no longer prioritize refugees who are religious minorities in their home countries, which was widely interpreted as the White House favoring Christians living in Muslim-majority nations. Shaker had hoped the original wording might help her fiancé, who is a Syrian Christian.

  • The revised ban may specify that green-card holders, who are legal permanent residents of the U.S., are allowed to enter the country. At first, officials stopped green-card holders from coming into America, but the White House soon changed course, issuing a statement saying they could enter into the country. Having this provision written into an executive order may ease the worries of green-card holder Shaker and of interviewee Zubair Rushk, whose wife, Etan Shukri, has a green card. Shaker, Rushk, and Shukri all had flights planned for soon after the original travel ban and were concerned about being stopped. Shaker later told Pacific Standard that her trip from Chicago to California, for a violin performance, went smoothly.