After losing numerous court decisions over his travel ban, President Donald Trump vowed to keep the legal battle going. However, in addition to this, the administration had indicated that Trump would also sign a new order to supplement the old one so that it would have a better chance of passing legal muster. Finally, after weeks of rumored drafts and delays, Trump signed a new order on Monday.
The original order put a temporary stop to all refugees coming into the country, with an indefinite block on refugees from Syria. It also halted all incoming travel from seven countries with Muslim majorities. The new order clarifies that the ban only applies to people who do not currently have valid visas and did not have visas when the original order was signed on January 27. It specifies that it does not apply to legal permanent residents of the United States, or people who were admitted after the order was signed, or those who were already granted refugee or asylum status before the order.
Furthermore, Iraq is no longer on the list of countries specified in a general travel ban. The Pentagon and State Department had pushed to remove Iraq from that list, since the country has been a valuable ally in the fight against ISIS.
The new order also does not call for an indefinite hold on Syrian refugees, who will face the same treatment as refugees from other countries. When the temporary ban on refugees is lifted, the number of those ultimately admitted into the U.S. will have a maximum of 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.
While the order is in effect, the administration will work to put in place new standards for screening individuals entering the U.S.
The new order is meant to work alongside the original one instead of repeal it, as repealing the initial order would end the legal battles surrounding it. The administration still believes they can win those fights instead of having decisions against them remain on the books. RNC member and Trump campaign surrogate Randy Evans said in February that the administration is expected to try to drag out the legal fight until a new Supreme Court justice, preferably Neil Gorsuch, is confirmed.
Trump had insisted that his original order was indeed legal, but even if he ultimately could have won the battle in federal court, he would have had to wait for the case to be resolved for it to take effect again. By ditching that order and drafting a new one that is geared to be more favorable in the eyes of the judiciary, it allows the President to immediately move forward with his security measures.