The President’s new travel ban from six specific mostly-muslim countries (Iraq was dropped from the list) is unlikely to pass muster with the courts. It is a much better thought-out order than the first, is more limited in scope, and avoids much that was especially objectionable in the first one. But it still contains the two fundamental problems that the courts called out for the original order.
First, it claims to be necessary for national security (“to keep Americans safe”) but offers no evidence that these six countries (Iraq was dropped from the list) represent any more of a security threat than, say, someone coming from Canada. The courts will not be fooled by language in the new Executive Order that claims to demonstrate a special security risk from these specific countries. Those claims crumble under even cursory scrutiny.
Second, in view of the fact that the new Executive Order plainly has nothing to do with national security, we are left with it’s real purpose: it is a ban on muslims, which conflicts with one of our country’s most basic values; namely, we don’t discriminate against people based on their religion. Despite denials from the administration, no reasonable reading of it can lead to any other conclusion than that this is targeted at muslims.
This is Donald Trump fulfilling his pledge during the campaign to keep the muslims out of our country. He has discovered that he can’t really do that without colliding with the Constitution that he has sworn to protect and defend. This anti-muslim fervor is driven primarily by Steve Bannon’s view that the West is engaged in an epic ideological clash with Islam, and that it is an existential conflict (that is, it threatens our very existence). There is no peaceful co-existence in either Bannon’s world view or in Trump’s. In particular, it plays into one of Trump’s weaknesses; that he sees everything as a win-lose proposition. The possibility of a win-win does not appear to be in his view of the world.
It is likely that the same states that brought suit against the first ban will also bring suit against this one. It is also likely that the courts will again squash it.
There are a couple of oddities here that deserve a passing mention.
First, the administration claims that they need to shut down immigration from these six countries while they review the entire immigration situation country-by-country, and arrive at a better vetting system. Certainly a review of our vetting processes can’t be a bad thing. But one has to wonder why they have to ban people traveling from these countries to do that, and why they haven’t already done it. They have certainly had time. As near as I can tell, they haven’t even started this process.
Second, the following clauses was included in a list of updated information gathering requirements:
“Information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the United States by foreign nationals”
I honestly don’t know what the administration was thinking when they put this in there. It is difficult to see this as anything other than an anti-muslim clause, which again points us to the real motivations behind this unconstitutional and un-American Executive Order. The courts cannot help but notice this as well.