Barely a month after federal Judge James Robart placed a hold on an executive order by President Donald Trump temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, the administration has pushed through a revised order that accomplishes a mostly identical task. Yet, the revised order brings with it renewed opposition.
According to Rolling Stone, the ACLU has announced that it will sue the administration over the new order. The ACLU asserts that the ban is unconstitutional.
"We believe the new order continues to be based on religious discrimination," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said. "That was the core problem with the first executive order and remains a serious problem with this executive order."
"This is not a Muslim ban in any way, shape or form," a senior administration official noted of the recently revised executive order, reports PTI. "This is a temporary suspension on the entry of nationals from six countries that have either failed states at this point, or that are state sponsors of terror; that we don't have the ability to make safe, adequate screening and vetting determinations for nationals under current procedures because of those weaknesses."
In January, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Trump surrogate, spoke with Fox News about the origins of the travel ban.
“I'll tell you the whole history of it,” Giuliani began. “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.' He called me up. He said, 'Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.' "
Giuliani then described how he and a team of lawyers and legal experts designed the order, reports the Washington Post.
“And what we did was, we focused on, instead of religion, danger -- the areas of the world that create danger for us,” Giuliani continued. “Which is a factual basis, not a religious basis. Perfectly legal, perfectly sensible. And that's what the ban is based on. It's not based on religion. It's based on places where there are substantial evidence that people are sending terrorists into our country.”
"All of the statements leading up to the issuance of the first executive order, as well as statements made after, reveal that this is a Muslim ban, period," Gelernt added, notes Rolling Stone. "The fact that the government has tweaked the language in the second executive order does not eliminate that discriminatory taint."
Despite the revised order's narrowing of banned countries to six (rather than seven), and the admittance of legal green card holders, the ACLU contests that the order continues to be a Muslim ban at its core.
"The administration is clearly trying to change the narrative and say that the order is constitutional now in light of these tweaks," Gelernt concluded. "It's incumbent on us to make clear to the public that the core constitutional problem of religious discrimination remains. I think the public will see these tweaks for what they are: an attempt to do an end-run around the courts without really eliminating the constitutional problems."