President Trump took a second swing at his temporary travel ban Monday, this time targeting travelers from six majority Muslim countries and crafting his executive order in ways intended to survive challenges in U.S. courts.
The new ban, which goes into effect March 16, no longer restricts travel from Iraq, one of seven listed in the original order. The 90-day ban now is limited to Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen.
As before, the order shuts down the U.S. refugee program for 120 days to give the federal government time to develop "extreme vetting" procedures to prevent terrorists from entering the country. However, Syrians are no longer subject to an indefinite ban, as they were under the first order.
The White House spent weeks drafting the revised ban, coordinating with the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security to avoid the chaos that followed the Jan. 27 order. That one took immediate, snarling travel for thousands of people around the world and at U.S. airports. This time, federal agencies will have 10 days to prepare before the order goes into effect.
Trump signed his first order during a highly-publicized signing ceremony at the Pentagon. This time, he signed the order in private and sent out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to issue brief statements.
"It is the president’s solemn duty to protect the American people, and with this order, President Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe," Tillerson said. "As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually reevaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country."
While the goal of the executive order remains the same — keeping terrorists out — the administration made several other big changes to avoid being struck down in court.
Nationals of the six countries with legal permanent residence in the U.S. (known as green card holders) are not affected. People with valid visas as of Monday also are exempt. And the order no longer gives immigration preference to "religious minorities," such as Christians who claim they are persecuted in mostly Muslim countries.