September 26, 2017
*-- Trump's new travel ban draws fire from immigration advocates --*
President Donald Trump says the tougher his new travel ban is, the better -- but opponents say it's merely another attempt to push through a ban on Muslims in the United States.
The president ordered a revised travel ban Sunday night, which adds three new countries -- North Korea, Venezuela and Chad -- and removes one from the list first introduced months ago.
The original ban, which was mostly blocked in federal court, prohibited travelers to the United States from Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. In addition to Chad, Sunday's action adds North Korea and Venezuela -- two nations that have seen rising tensions with the United States in recent months.
Sudan was dropped from the list, and the end to its restrictions is effective immediately.
Restrictions for Somalia will be lessened for non-immigrant visitors, and restrictions against Iran will be relaxed for students. The new restrictions on Chad and North Korea ban all citizens from those countries. Restrictions against Venezuela apply only to government officials and their immediate families.
Trump's administration said the order is aimed to improve vetting for potential immigrants and increase national security.
Enforcement of the changes is scheduled to begin Oct. 18.
A White House statement cited a recent poll that found "a clear majority of voters" -- 60 percent -- support Trump's travel ban.
"The tougher, the better," Trump said of his order as he prepared to leave New Jersey for the White House late Sunday.
"Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet," he later tweeted.
Trump's previous travel ban stalled in courts partly because it included only Muslim-majority countries. Opponents to the idea again expressed their disapproval of the new order.
"No amount of repackaging can disguise the fact that the intent behind the ban was and remains a noxious attempt to ban people based on their faith," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a critic of the travel ban, said.
"The fact that Trump has added North Korea -- with few visitors to the U.S. -- and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn't obfuscate the real fact that the administration's order is still a Muslim ban," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in a statement. "President Trump's original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list."
The ACLU is one of multiple organizations who are challenging Trump's ban in court. It is scheduled to go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 10, the group said.
"This new Muslim Ban 3.0 is nothing but an extension of the same discriminatory policy first rolled out in January," the National Iranian American Council said.
"What remains the same? That the original intent behind this always was an attempt to ban Muslims," the National Immigration Law Center tweeted.
Part of the reason for the updated ban was the previous order expired Sunday.