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Trump’s travel ban basics: What you need to know

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, February 26, 2017  /  07:39 am
Trump’s travel ban basics: What you need to know

Protesters rally against President Trump's travel ban on Feb. 4 in Washington DC. (Shutterstock/File)

With everything coming out of the United States these days, it is hard to keep up without being completely overwhelmed with information. 

If you have been wondering exactly what President Trump’s “travel ban” is, here are some facts to keep you up to date.

What it is all about

In January, Trump signed an executive order that temporarily barred refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, including those currently en route to America and those with American green cards. 

In airports, customs officials detained those affected by the order, causing a flood of protesters and lawyers to arrive and do their best to help.

A ruling by a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked the enforcement of the travel ban. Though Trump’s administration attempted to appeal the ruling, a federal appeals court panel denied the request. This meant that previously banned refugees and citizens from the seven countries could continue to enter the United States as if the order had not occurred. 

During this time, though, 746 people were detained in the 27-hour period before the judge blocked the order. How many were turned away or let into the country is still unknown.

(Read also: Trump's travel ban will spark radicalization)

Who is affected 

At the start of the ban, citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen were banned from entering the country for 90 days. However, now, they are still able to enter, provided they have a valid visa.

Those who hold two passports are allowed to enter, provided at least one of those passports is from a non-banned country. 

Refugees are still suspended from entering for 120 days, as the US Refugee Admissions Program has been put on hold. Syrian refugees are barred indefinitely. The 872 refugees who are considered “in transit” and on their way to the US will still be allowed to enter. 

Initially, American green card holders were included in the ban. After days of confusion and mixed messages, Trump’s legal counsel issued a memo to the state that green card holders will no longer be impacted. 

Those with visas from Iran and the other countries were detained for questioning. The most notable of whom was Kjell Magne Bondevik, the former Prime Minister of Norway. While he was told that this had nothing to do with Trump’s ban and was instead related to a 2015 law, Bondevik claims he had never had issues entering the US previously. Bondevik was held for an hour at Washington DC's Dulles International Airport on Jan. 30. Trump’s team did not comment.

(Read also: Apple, Google, Uber join fight against Trump travel ban)

Is it a Muslim ban?

News outlets are calling the order a “Muslim ban”, though, in the order itself, no religions are explicitly mentioned. What it does mention is the fact that priority will be given to refugees who are a religious minority in their country of origin. Trump used Christians in Syria as an example in an interview

The order also mentions 9/11, citing it as an occasion in which the American visa process failed. However, those behind 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, which is not one of the countries that is a part of the ban.

According to The Washington Post, “visas from these seven countries, about 90,000 in total, accounted for less than 1 percent of all U.S. visas given for permanent residences, as well as temporary travel, study abroad and other reasons in 2015” and Iran is likely to have the most affected travelers, based on past numbers. 

The revised ban

It has been a month since Trump signed off on the initial travel ban, and his administration is scheduled to release a revised version in the coming week. 

Two of the biggest differences from the original ban and the new ban are that the new ban will not apply to green card holders and that it will not impact those in the air, on their way to the US, according to CBS News

It is very likely that the ban will apply to the original seven countries. The state of the refugee program is still unclear. (sul/kes)

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