President Donald Trump on Monday signed a long-awaited new travel ban as it emerged that the FBI is investigating 300 people admitted as refugees for links to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The ban was immediately met with threats of legal action. Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, said he was scrutinizing the new order and stood ready to challenge it.
“While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear,” he 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.”
Mr Trump signed the executive order into effect on Monday following conference calls from his staff explaining the provisos in the law.
At the same time, the department of homeland security told congressmen that the FBI was investigating 300 people admitted as refugees for links to the so-called Islamic State. The 300 refugees were part of 1,000 counter terrorism investigations involving Islamic State or individuals inspired by the militant group, congressional sources said. No details were given as to the cases, or the time frame.
But the news was clearly timed to boost support for Mr Trump’s ban According to his executive order, all refugee arrivals will be stopped for a period of 120 days. Unlike in the previous text, Syrian refugees are not singled out for a permanent ban on entry.
Furthermore, citizens from six countries will, from March 16, be prevented from entering the United States, unless they have previously been granted a visa.
ntries – now only citizens of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen are banned.
And the new ban does not priorities entry for “persecuted minorities” – a proviso which critics said unfairly blocked the entry of Muslims.
Mr Trump’s first attempt to implement a travel ban, in January, was a chaotic series of announcements, clarifications, wrongful detentions, protests and court cases that culminated in an appeals court ruling that it was unlawful. Nigeria – a country not on the list – on Monday warned its citizens not to travel to the US after many were sent home at the airport.
But this time round the administration was determined to ensure that the roll-out of the ban was smooth.