Considering I discussed the initial executive order, I thought it would be appropriate to follow-up with a post regarding the revised one as well.

President Trump signed a revised version of the widely controversial travel ban, otherwise known as the Muslim ban, on March 6th, which was scheduled to be in effect starting March 16th. Trump said that the intention of the travel ban is to safeguard the United States from security threats, but unfortunately, the ban seems to have greater potential of creating false stereotypes and threatening religious liberty. Broadly, the new ban sought to temporarily halt the issuing of visas to travelers and refugees from the predominantly Muslim nations of Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Not surprisingly, the new ban has been blocked, first by Hawaii U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson, and then by Maryland U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang. These judges, like many others, don’t see that the revised order does anything but discriminate against Muslims.

Judge Watson said the travel ban was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”

Articulating that Trump has intentions of discrimination, rather than those stated by the administration, Chuang said,

“The history of public statements [by President Trump] continues to provide a convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long-envisioned Muslim ban.”

When news of this first came out, I wondered what made this executive order different from the last? Do the revisions address anything concerning its unconstitutionality on the basis of the original ban threatening religious liberty?

  1. The revised travel ban includes only six of the seven predominantly Muslim countries that were originally banned; Iraq has been taken off the list.
  2. If travelers from the six countries already possess travel visas, they are not included in the ban.
  3. Those who have green cards, citizenship, or dual citizenship in the U.S. will have no problem getting back into the States.
  4. Interestingly, the clause indicating that Syrian refugees will not be admitted into the U.S. was completely removed.
  5. Under the first order, “persecuted religious minorities” were an exception to the ban, but the new ban fails to mention religion at all.

Though the revision made numerous changes to the original ban, it doesn’t seem that it does much, if anything, to eliminate religious discrimination. It addresses some of the things that received scrutiny in the first travel ban, but it doesn’t address the overarching issue. In fact, I think one of the most interesting changes is the fifth one noted above. At least the first travel ban said that the United States would make exceptions for religious minorities who are being persecuted. The new ban just doesn’t mention it, as though it isn’t the responsibility of U.S. and other nations to protect religious diversity and the rights of those who can’t protect themselves. I would imagine that the administration attempted to remove even any mention of religion because of the backlash they received for the first ban, and in the hopes that doing so would prove their only supposed intent of the ban: to protect national security.