Amended travel ban now in force

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Tom McCarthy and Oliver Laugh­land New York

The United States im­ple­mented a mod­i­fied ver­sion of Don­ald Trump’s travel ban last Thurs­day on some peo­ple from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries and cer­tain refugees, cit­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns that fed­eral courts have de­clared to be un­founded.

Travel through ma­jor US air­ports ap­peared to be pro­ceed­ing as usual, with bor­der of­fi­cials un­der or­ders to re­spect pre­vi­ously is­sued visas for ci­ti­zens from the coun­tries in ques­tion: Su­dan, So­ma­lia, Iran, Ye­men, Syria and Libya.

The air­port scenes con­trasted sharply with the protests and se­cu­rity chaos that greeted the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s first travel ban in Jan­uary, which drew im­pas­sioned demon­stra­tors and led to the sud­den de­ten­tion and ex­pul­sion of trav­ellers with valid visas.

Just be­fore the lat­est travel ban took ef­fect, it came un­der court chal­lenge, with the state of Hawaii ques­tion­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of a stan­dard for grant­ing visas de­scribed by the supreme court in a rul­ing last Mon­day par­tially al­low­ing the ban.

Trav­ellers with a “cred­i­ble claim of a bona fide re­la­tion­ship with a per­son or en­tity in the United States” could be ex­empt from the ban, the high court ruled. The ad­min­is­tra­tion in­ter­preted “bona fide re­la­tion­ship” to in­clude par­ents, chil­dren, in-laws and steprela­tions but to ex­clude grand­par­ents, neph­ews, nieces, cousins and oth­ers.

David Miliband, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee, called the sit­u­a­tion “alarm­ing”, “con­fus­ing” and “in­hu­mane”.

“The ban­ning of grand­moth­ers – of un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren – from Amer­ica’s shores is a dis­grace,” Miliband said. “Dou­bly so when Amer­ica is a break­ing a prom­ise we have made to safe­guard them.”

Trump de­clared the mea­sure a vic­tory. “Great day for Amer­ica’s fu­ture Se­cu­rity and Safety,” he tweeted at the time of the supreme court de­ci­sion. “We must keep Amer­ica SAFE!”

A Cato In­sti­tute study of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the United States over the 40 years from 1975–2015 con­cluded that na­tion­als from the six coun­tries in ques­tion – So­ma­lia, Ye­men, Libya, Syria, Iran and Su­dan – were re­spon­si­ble for zero fa­tal at­tacks on US soil in that time pe­riod. Refugees from Syria and else­where, like­wise, are not a threat at all, em­pir­i­cally speak­ing.

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