President Trump’s new immigration ban: Who is barred and who is not

President Trump on Monday issued a new immigration ban order, a month after a panel of federal judges blocked key parts of his initial order.

The original ban barred for 90 days people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also barred all refugees for 120 days, and Syrian refugees indefinitely.

What’s New

  • The ban is not immediate, going into effect on March 16.
  • Iraq removed from the list.
  • Current visa holders no longer affected.
  • Syrian refugees barred temporarily, not indefinitely and refugees of minority religions no longer favored.
  • Refugees already granted asylum will be allowed.
  • References to support for the Constitution and other beliefs removed.
  • Details added about why the six countries were selected.

People From Six Countries

The new ban removed Iraq from its list of seven targeted countries, though Iraqi nationals seeking admission will be subject to additional scrutiny. Some of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy advisors argued for the country’s removal, citing the country’s role in fighting the Islamic State.

There were several legal challenges to the original ban, with claims based on equal protection rights granted by the Constitution, the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion, and a non-discrimination statute of an immigration law.

Plaintiffs also cited a law that says the government cannot act arbitrarily or without supportive evidence. Two weeks after the federal appeals court hearing, a Department of Homeland Security report was revealed to have found no evidence that citizens from the targeted countries posed a unique threat. However, Homeland Security officials argued that the report did not paint a full picture.


Visitors, Students and Workers Without Current Visas

The new ban only applies to people from the six countries without current visas, like temporary, non-immigrant visas for students and workers. Students with valid F, M or J visas will be allowed. The original ban also affected current visa holders who would normally be allowed to travel and re-enter the country.

During the rollout of the first ban, many visa holders were stuck abroad or detained in American airports. Later, a State Department official said that “fewer than 60,000” visas had been provisionally revoked. Several judges who issued injunctions against the original order raised concerns that due process rights were being violated.

There were nearly 65,000 nonimmigrant, temporary visits by citizens from these six countries in the 2015 fiscal year, including:

Visitors, business travelers

49,412 entries in 2015

People visiting the U.S. for recreational or business purposes on non-immigrant travel visas like B-1 or B-2.


12,205 entries in 2015

International students (and their families) enrolled in U.S. programs on non-immigrant visas like F-1, J-1 and M-1.

Temporary workers

883 entries in 2015

Employees (and their families) on non-immigrant work visas like H-1B for specialty workers and H-2B for agricultural workers.

Fiancés of U.S. citizens

669 entries in 2015

Temporary visas for fiancés of U.S. citizens and for spouses and children of U.S. citizens or green card holders who have pending immigrant visas.


New Immigrants

Like the original order, the new ban also applies to people from the six countries newly arriving on immigrant visas, which are issued based on employment or family status. People issued immigrant visas become legal permanent residents on arrival in the United States and are issued a green card soon after.

In 2015, green cards were issued to 31,258 people from these six countries. In general, about half of recent new legal permanent residents are new arrivals to the country, and the other half had their status adjusted after living in the United States.



The ban on all refugees to the United States is still set at 120 days. Syrian refugees are no longer barred indefinitely, but now fall under the general ban. After the 120 days, the administration will determine which countries they will reinstate admissions from. Syrians made up the second-largest group of refugees to the United States in 2016.

In another change, refugees in minority religious groups will no longer be prioritized for acceptance once the program is reinstated. Although the original order did not explicitly mention Christians as a minority religion that would have been given preference, Mr. Trump said that was what he intended, prompting challenges claiming religious-based discrimination.

The order still allows case-by-case exceptions for some refugees. During the week when the initial refugee ban was in effect, just 15 percent of the 843 refugees who were admitted on a case-by-case basis were Muslim, compared with a weekly average of 45 percent in 2016. Only two refugees were allowed in from the seven originally targeted countries.

The new ban also still cuts the refugee program in half, capping it at 50,000 people for the 2017 fiscal year, down from the 110,000 ceiling put in place under President Barack Obama.


Green Card Holders and Special Immigrants

The new order explicitly says that green card holders from the targeted countries will still be allowed. In the original order, green card holders were not explicitly cited as exempt, leading to uncertainty at airports. The administration later clarified that they were not affected.

From 1999 to 2015, 3.6 percent of new legal permanent residents were from the seven affected countries.


Dual Nationals and Diplomats

The ban still does not apply to U.S. citizens, or to dual nationals who enter the United States presenting their passport from a country not under the ban. During the rollout of the original order, it was unclear whether dual nationals from the targeted countries were allowed.

People on certain types of diplomatic or government visas are also still exempted from the ban. Nearly 2,500 admissions from these countries were made on these visas in 2015:


Diplomats (and their families) on visas like A-1

Government officials

Representatives of foreign governments or international organizations holding G-1, G-2, G-3 or G-4 visas

Visitors to the United Nations

People with C-2 visas to travel to the United Nations

NATO officials

Officials (and their families) on North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas

Other Changes

The new ban will go into effect in 10 days. The original ban was effective immediately after Mr. Trump signed it, causing significant confusion at airports across the country. The delay was likely also included to remove the potential for due process challenges.

Legal Challenges to the Original Ban

Challenges to the original ban claimed that it violated, among other things, a nondiscrimination clause in an immigration law that says the government cannot discriminate in issuing visas because of “race, sex, nationality, place of birth, or place of residence.” The administration argued that another part of the law granting the president broad authority on deciding who may enter the United States overrode that provision.

There have also been challenges claiming that the ban violates equal protection rights granted by the Constitution, though the Supreme Court has said that only people in the country have standing to sue based on them.

Other challenges were based on the First Amendment’s prohibition of government establishment of religion. Those challenges, based on statements by Mr. Trump and his allies that the purpose of the order was to bar Muslims, may not be subject to objections based on standing.

Source: NY Times

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