The Supreme Court decided to let President Trump’s watered down travel ban pass go last week – in part. After two executive orders, several court rulings, and many presidential tweets, there is now a 90 day ban on foreign travelers from six countries (reminder: Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen) and a 120 day ban on refugees fleeing persecution from any country – unless they can prove that they have a “bona fide relationship" with someone in the US. This new caveat is thanks to the Supremes, who will do a full review of the whole travel ban in October. Obviously Trump is calling this a yuuuge win, even though the relationship guidelines are significantly less restrictive than originally intended.
So who’s bona fide? Parents, in-laws, steps, children, siblings, spouses and fiancés. And who’s out? Aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and grandparents. Because your 90 year old granny is definitely a terrorist. Still, version 2.0 of the travel ban is a far cry from the original idea of restricting immigration and amping up national security. Many exemptions are now in place and a lot of the contentious (read: religious) language has been scrapped. However, it still makes the US look anti-Muslim and bigoted, it’s still going to break up many families, and it’s still going to attract a lot of lawsuits. But won’t it at least keep everyone safe, you ask? Unfortunately no, for two reasons: the ban doesn’t combat extremist ideology, which is vital to stopping terrorists, and the ban doesn’t keep out homegrown terrorists, arguably a greater threat than all of the countries that Trump used as justification for his ban.
The first ban produced chaos, massive protests, widespread detentions of people at airports, and numerous legal challenges that ultimately put the ban on hold after a week. But this time around, the airports were quiet and the protesters stayed home. That’s because people with valid visas or green cards are NOT affected. So the travel ban is now being enforced primarily off American shores, at US consulates who issue those visas. Different consulates may enforce the ban differently, and it will be extremely difficult to tell exactly how many people will be denied visas based on the ban – and thus it will be harder to challenge the ban in court. Game, set and match.
Feel like you’re in need of a “get out of jail free” card? Maybe you should take a trip…back in time. Movie for your mood: 12 Monkeys