On Monday President Donald Trump signed a revised version of his ban on travel for people from certain Muslim-majority countries. However, in light of newly obtained information from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as the still discriminatory nature of the newest ban, the order was met with criticism from political leaders and activist groups.
The countries impacted by Trump’s original order were Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Iraq is not included in the new order. The new order also no longer permanently bans Syrian refugees, but it still includes a 120-day suspension for refugees. It does not contain language that would have given Christian refugees priority. Additionally, the order states that no more than 50,000 refugees will be granted entry to the United States in fiscal year 2017. The newest executive order will go into effect on March 16.
Newly elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Tom Perez released a powerful statement about the White House’s most recent action.
“Trump’s obsession with religious discrimination is disgusting, un-American, and outright dangerous,” Perez’s statement reads in part. He called the most updated ban “just as unconstitutional as the last one and it isn’t making us any safer”:
“A memo leaked by Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security flatly contradicts his unfounded claim that citizens of the countries targeted are more likely to pose a terrorist threat. A number of terrorism experts opposed to this ban have also made it clear that it only fuels radicalization and extremism, increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks.”
Perez, whose own parents escaped the Dominican Republic to flee a “brutal dictator,” joined a protest outside the White House on Monday.
“America was that land of opportunity, just like it’s been for everybody else,” Perez said. “And that is why for me, this isn’t just a matter of interpretation of the Constitution, it is about who we are as a nation.”
Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (D), the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, questioned Trump’s denial that the order is a ban on Muslims.
On Campaign, @realDonaldTrump called for “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Now, says “what Muslim Ban”
Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) March 6, 2017
He elaborated on his tweet in a phone interview with CNN.
“It’s a Muslim ban,” Ellison said. “It’s a revised one. It’s a lawyered up one. The man said he wanted a complete and total ban of Muslims. And then it gets struck down … and then he comes back a few days later with something else. He is trying to restrict access to the United States because of their religion. The people that it does ban are banned because it’s Muslim.”
Indiana Rep. Andr Carson, the second Muslim to be elected to Congress, on Twitter called the newest order a “Muslim Ban 2.0.”
Andr Carson (@RepAndreCarson) March 6, 2017
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the newest executive order “a watered down ban.”
Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) March 6, 2017
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that the backlash resulting from the first ban shows the president “is not above the Constitution.”
“While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear,” Schneiderman said. “This doesn’t just harm the families caught in the chaos of President Trump’s draconian policies it’s diametrically opposed to our values, and makes us less safe.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the president “has recommitted himself to religious discrimination.”
“What’s more, the changes the Trump administration has made, and everything we’ve learned since the original ban rolled out, completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind and only strengthen the case against his unconstitutional executive orders,” the ACLU said.
Department of Homeland Security: Citizenship Not ‘A Reliable Factor’ for Vetting Potential Terrorists
The Associated Press last month obtained a draft of a DHS report that contradicts the reasoning behind Trump’s travel ban. According to the draft, “citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
Between March 2011 and the present, the text reports on “at least 82 primarily US-based individuals, who died in the pursuit of or were convicted of any terrorism-related federal offense inspired by a foreign terrorist organization.” Of those 82 people, a little more than half were born in the United States.
“Of the foreign-born individuals, they came from 26 different countries, with no one country representing more than 13.5 percent of the foreign-born total,” according to the text.
Further, “Relatively few citizens of the seven countries impacted by E.O. 13769, compared to neighboring countries, maintain access to the United States. Terrorist groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen pose a threat of attacks in the United States while groups in Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan remain regionally focused.”
A separate DHS intelligence report, exclusively obtained by The Rachel Maddow Show, found that “most foreign-born, US-based violent extremists likely radicalized several years after their entry to the United States, limiting the ability of screening and vetting officials to prevent their entry because of national security concerns.”
On average, the DHS found, people radicalize 13 years after they enter the country.
Further, “We assess nearly all parents who entered the country with minor-age children likely did not espouse a violent extremist ideology at the time they entered or at any time since, suggesting these foreign-born individuals were likely not radicalized by their parents before or after their arrival in the Homeland.”