Anal­y­sis: Travel ban shrunk in scope

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY JILL COLVIN AND ALICIA A. CALDWELL Associated Press

Washington — With Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s travel ban on the verge of tak­ing ef­fect Thurs­day, the White House was declar­ing a vic­tory on the first ma­jor pol­icy push of his pres­i­dency. But it could not have been the win Trump imag­ined.

What was once de­scribed as a blan­ket ban on Mus­lims, then be­came a tem­po­rary ban on vis­i­tors from seven ma­jor­ity-Mus­lim coun­tries, is now a list of con­fus­ing new visa re­stric­tions.

All but lost in the five-month edit­ing process and court fight is the pres­i­dent’s stated aim: keep­ing dan­ger­ous peo­ple out of the U.S. Trump billed the tem­po­rary ban on vis­i­tors from cer­tain coun­tries and refugees as an ur­gent and nec­es­sary tool to keep out would-be ter­ror­ists while the gov­ern­ment crafted new “ex­treme vet­ting” pro­ce­dures.

But five months and no ban later, the ad­min­is­tra­tion has made lit­tle ef­fort to build a stronger case and of­fered scant new ev­i­dence to back up its claims.

The re­stric­tions that will take ef­fect Thurs­day, re­in­stated tem­po­rar­ily by Supreme Court, are a far cry from Trump’s ini­tial ex­ec­u­tive or­der, which sparked protests, chaos at air­ports and le­gal chal­lenges in his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ear­li­est days.

The jus­tices’ rul­ing ex­empts peo­ple if they can prove a “bona fide re­la­tion­ship” with a U.S. per­son or en­tity. Un­der State De­part­ment guide­lines, visa ap­pli­cants from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries will need to show close fam­ily or busi­ness ties to the United States for the next 90 days.

Ci­ti­zens of Syria, Su­dan, So­ma­lia, Libya, Iran and Ye­men with a par­ent, spouse, child, adult son or daugh­ter, son-in-law, daugh­ter-in-law or sib­ling al­ready in the United States could be al­lowed to en­ter.

Jour­nal­ists, stu­dents, work­ers or lec­tur­ers who have valid, for­mal in­vi­ta­tions or em­ploy­ment con­tracts in the U.S. are ex­empt from the ban.

The same re­quire­ments, with some ex­cep­tions, will ap­ply to refugees from all na­tions who are still await­ing ap­proval for the next 120 days.

In a con­fer­ence call with re­porters Thurs­day, only one of five ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials couched the Supreme Court or­der as a step that will have a marked im­pact on im­prov­ing na­tional se­cu­rity. The of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity de­spite de­scrib­ing a pub­lic ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

The White House sees the Supreme Court de­ci­sion as a tem­po­rary mea­sure, and is con­fi­dent it will win on the mer­its when the court hears the case later this year.

It re­mains un­clear whether the orig­i­nal ban would have im­proved se­cu­rity. Ex­perts have warned that the pro­posal alien­ated mod­er­ate Mus­lims and turned off al­lies the U.S. re­lies on to fight ex­trem­ist groups.

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