Will re­vised re­stric­tions pass le­gal muster?

New Straits Times - - World -

WASHINGTON: The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and oth­ers are lin­ing up to chal­lenge United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­vised ban on refugees and trav­ellers from six mainly Mus­lim coun­tries.

But can they suc­ceed in over­turn­ing a mea­sure that was de­lib­er­ately crafted to re­move the red flags raised by US courts? That might be more dif­fi­cult.

This time, there is un­likely to be a back­drop of air­port chaos and mass de­ten­tions to help lawyers make the case that peo­ple’s rights were be­ing tram­pled.

The White House has rolled out a process to avoid a re­peat of the con­fu­sion caused by its first travel ban, which was im­posed with no no­tice and lit­tle prepa­ra­tion one week into Trump’s pres­i­dency.

The new or­der is­sued on Mon­day sus­pended US en­try for all refugees for 120 days, and the is­su­ing of new visas for na­tion­als of Syria, Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Ye­men and Su­dan for 90 days.

Although sim­i­lar to the first travel ban, it has been changed in sig­nif­i­cant ways to pass muster with the courts.

The new re­stric­tions do not go into ef­fect un­til March 16, giv­ing trav­ellers 10 days to pre­pare for the changes.

Cru­cially, the new or­der ex­empts per­ma­nent US res­i­dents and visa hold­ers, and al­lowed waivers on a case-by-case ba­sis.

It also drops Iraq from the list of coun­tries tar­geted by the ban.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion’s strat­egy ap­pears de­signed to ad­dress the kind of sit­u­a­tions that ig­nited pub­lic out­rage and made the travel ban po­lit­i­cally ra­dioac­tive.

There was the case of an Ira­nian baby who could not travel for spe­cialised med­i­cal treat­ment in the US. That could now be dealt with us­ing a waiver.

For­eign stu­dents and Sil­i­con Val­ley ex­ec­u­tives were stranded abroad, and en­tire fam­i­lies de­tained at air­ports. As long as they have visas, they should no longer face that risk un­der the new rules.

Lawyers for Hawaii on Tues­day in­formed courts there of their plan to file a chal­lenge to the re­vised ban yes­ter­day.

If filed, it would be the first chal­lenge to the tweaked ban.

Camille Mack­ler, di­rec­tor of le­gal ini­tia­tives at the New York Im­mi­gra­tion Coali­tion, called Trump’s new or­der a “back­door Mus­lim ban”.

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