- Jeffrey Toobin: Trump signs new order revising travel ban to bar immigration from 6 Muslim majority countries
- He says in removing reference to religion, new ban may pass constitutional muster, though it will likely be challenged
The revised executive order, revealed Monday during a rare joint appearance by three Cabinet members, addresses many of the legal problems that led Trump's first executive order to be stymied by the courts.
The new order makes plain that holders of green cards and valid visas are now clearly exempt. There is no longer an exception to allow Christian refugees to jump to the head of the line.
The government's explanation for why it selected the covered countries does not mention religion; rather, the administration says the six countries -- down from seven in the previous order -- either support terrorism or lack sufficient controls to identify dangerous visitors to the United States. The order also removes Iraq as one of the countries covered by the order.
The courts, which invalidated the original ban, did so, in effect, because they found the order amounted to religious discrimination against Muslims. This new order, unlike the first, makes no mention of the religions of any applicants to come to the United States.
Still, opponents of the order will insist the new rules are merely pretexts -- that the new order once again fulfills President Trump's campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
As Thomas Perez, the new head of the Democratic National Committee, put it in a statement Monday
, "Trump's obsession with religious discrimination is disgusting, un-American and outright dangerous. Don't be fooled -- he promised again and again during his campaign that he would single out and persecute a specific religious group, and that's exactly what he's trying to do now. This second Muslim ban is just as unconstitutional as the last one."
That assertion will surely be before the courts in short order. But the Trump administration's return to the drawing board may have resulted in an order that, while still controversial, may pass constitutional muster.