Monday, September 27, 2021

Trump’s travel ban

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President Trump made numerous promises when campaigning to be President of the United States. The most infamous, to build a wall along the Mexican-American border is stuck firmly in the planning phase and doesn’t look likely to come to pass anytime soon. While another of his creations, the travel ban, has finally been passed into law and places a restriction on citizens from five countries coming into the US.

Winning out in the Supreme Court after a vote of 5-4, the “Trump ban”, as it has been nicknamed in the media, bans travel of citizens from Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya from coming to America, as well as those from North Korea and Venezuela.

The ban previously rejected on two occasions, covers over 135 million people, 80 million of whom are from Iran. Thousands of Iranians come to the country to study while there is estimated to be over one million Iranian-Americans living in the country who will now be cut off from family and friends living in Iran unable to visit or emigrate

Labelled a Muslim ban by critics, 90% of the population of each country are members of the Islamic faith, the ban does not discriminate. The notion has been rejected by conservatives who say that not only are Muslims banned but any person of any religion that holds a passport for those countries.

For those seeking an exception from the rule, they can apply through the US government for a waiver. Applicants will have to go through a comprehensive system based on whether the applicant would be a threat to the state and whether acceptance of the application would be in the national interest.  Even if a waiver is eventually granted, it doesn’t guarantee the issuance of a visa, which will be a separate process. It’s thought that only 2% of waivers have been granted.

Two previous versions of the travel ban were rejected in 2017.  An original banning order caused chaos at airports around the US as immigration officials were unsure exactly what was happening and who shouldn’t be allowed into the country. Citizens of seven nations, this time including Iraq, who are left off the most recent list due to their improving relations with the US, were banned from travelling to the US for 90 days. The ban which was swiftly overturned by federal courts and left many travellers in a state of flux not knowing whether they would be allowed into the country.

A revised version was introduced in March of the same year, removing a permutation that didn’t allow Syrian refugees to travel to the country. This ban was also struck down, but the Supreme Court did allow the law to take partial effect, banning those without close links to the US.

A third incarnation of the ban was issued back in September, removing Sudan from the list but adding Chad to it which brings us up to the present travel ban that President Trump hopes will remove the threat of international terrorism, something that remains to be seen.

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