The revised travel ban signed by President Donald Trump stands a better chance of holding up in court than its two prior versions, a noted immigrant scholar told DW. But to get there, the measure had to be scaled down.
DW: The third revision of President Trump's travel ban applies to eight countries, six of which are predominantly Muslim. It is supposed to be situation-based and permanent. Will this version hold up against possible legal challenges in the courts?
Stephen Yale-Loehr: Yes, I think the latest travel ban is more likely to survive a court challenge. The proclamation goes into depth about how the administration conducted its survey of other countries' identity management and information-sharing protocols. The proclamation bars only certain people from certain countries, not everyone from a given country. The proclamation includes North Korea and Venezuela, two non-Muslim-majority countries. And the new travel ban does not bar refugees from entering the United States. For all those reasons, I think a court is more likely to hold that this version of the travel ban is legal.
Are you surprised that North Korea, a country from which only very few people travel to the US, and Chad, a country which has had close military cooperation with the US, have been added to the travel ban?
Given our current tensions with North Korea, I am not surprised about the addition of that country. I am a little surprised about the addition of Chad, but maybe what the proclamation said about Chad is true: "Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
Additionally, several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.]"
What do you make of the fact that Venezuela has also been put on the list?
Only certain Venezuelan officials are barred under the latest order. The proclamation states: "Venezuela's government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. There are, however, alternative sources for obtaining information to verify the citizenship and identity of nationals from Venezuela. As a result, the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies." If that is the case, however, why does the order only bar such officials if they are coming on short-term B visas?
Is this new travel ban an appropriate tool to fulfill President Trump's stated goal to "protect the safety and security of the American people?"
President Trump obviously thinks so. I am sure he would have liked a broader travel ban, but the courts struck down his first two attempts. This version is much more narrowly focused. Perhaps the third time will be the charm for President Trump's travel ban orders.
Stephen Yale-Loehr is professor of immigration law at Cornell University and co-wrote the leading 21-volume treatise on the issue.