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A look at the particulars of the Trump travel ban, as refined

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday granted a preliminary injunction against orders blocking implementation of Trump’s revised travel restrictions.

Marchers organized by The New York Immigration Coalition

Marchers organized by The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), MPower Change, and Strong Economy for All rally in Washington Square Park in Manhattan on Thursday evening, Dec. 7, 2017. Photo Credit: John Roca

For the time being, people from Chad, Iran, Libya and Yemen are not welcome in the United States as tourists, business travelers or permanent residents, though some may come as students and with other limited visas.

Somalians can’t be admitted as legal residents, and visitors from there will be subject to additional scrutiny.

Syrians and North Koreans will not be admitted at all.

Iraqis are OK again, but Venezuelan government officials and their close relatives won’t get tourist or business visas.

Those are some of the provisions in the revised travel ban authorized by President Donald Trump — and allowed to go forward Monday by order of the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s the third version of a controversial policy established as a security priority by two executive orders and a proclamation.

Administration officials and supporters see the ban as a tool in keeping America safe and as an exercise of legitimate presidential power. Opponents have labeled it Muslim Ban 3.0, as they contend most affected countries are populated by people who profess Islam. Banning a religion, they say, is unconstitutional.

“We felt we were on the right course of history with our judicial system and to actually see this ban becoming fully enacted . . . is quite devastating,” said Debbie Almontaser, board member of the Yemeni American Merchants Association. The New York City group is part of one of the legal challenges to the ban filed in federal appeals courts covering Maryland and Hawaii.

The order issued Monday by the Supreme Court “granting a preliminary injunction” against previous orders blocking implementation is not the final word on whether Trump’s revised ban will prevail. But it is a win for the administration in a protracted fight ultimately headed back to the country’s highest court, experts say.

The policy, as described in Trump’s September proclamation, is predicated on the country’s interest “to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks and other public-safety threats.” The screening and vetting process “enhance our ability to detect foreign nationals who may commit, aid, or support acts of terrorism, or otherwise pose a safety threat.”

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) agrees with that rationale.

“Each of those countries . . . have strong terrorist components in the country and your vetting systems are inadequate,” he said. “During the whole Cold War, we monitored who was coming in from Iron Curtain countries. We know that ISIS and al-Qaida do intend to bring people in through immigration and that’s why we have Homeland Security for, and that’s why we have embassies for.”

Chaos ensued at airports when the ban was first rolled out in January, and travelers from designated countries were caught in transit or abroad, many stuck at airports. That scenario is unlikely to repeat itself, in part because most travelers will be facing scrutiny before they leave their countries of origin.

Also, the legal challenges are continuing to move through the federal circuit courts.

“If you think of this legal case as a train that is going out from Manhattan to Hempstead, we left Penn Station, but we are still not at Jamaica and there could be disruptions on the line,” said Camille Mackler, an opponent of the ban who is legal initiatives director at the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group based in Manhattan.

Despite its temporary nature, the court’s decision allowing the ban “is definitely a short-term victory for the Trump administration,” said James Sample, law professor at Hofstra Law School.

“The chaos that defined the initial, deeply-flawed rollout of version 1.0 has obviously subsided and, with the passage of time and the revisions that have softened the ban, there is no question that the likelihood of a court striking it down keeps decreasing,” Sample added.

The administration has honed the policy, devising a tailored approach with different levels of bans based on assessments of the different nations and largely allowing the return of immigrants already legally admitted to the country, experts say. But Sample believes the x-factor is what Trump will say or tweet that could have a bearing on the case.

Trump’s campaign remarks about banning Muslims, and his tweets on the subject were factors considered by federal judges in banning implementation of the current and a previous version of the ban.

In addition, Muslim leaders say many immigrants worry the ban could eventually target them, whether or not they’re from those countries.

“This is mostly affecting one people, the Muslim people,” said Muhammad Abdul Jabbar, imam of Bay Shore’s Masjid Darul Qu’Ram mosque. “Travel to America should be fair and just, and not pick a few countries and inflict all the bad on them.”

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