President Trump’s New Travel Restrictions: Muslim Ban 3.0

We’re not fooled by the travel restrictions the Trump administration issued late Sunday: This is Muslim Ban 3.0.

As the second ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries was expiring Sunday night, President Donald Trump issued a proclamation titled, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.”

But just like the first two Muslim bans, this is again a thinly veiled attempt to mask the president’s true intent – following through on his campaign promise to ban Muslims from the country. His intent has remained unchanged since his December 2015 call for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Yesterday’s proclamation indefinitely extends the ban on immigrants from the overwhelmingly Muslim countries of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, and on business and tourist visitors from those same countries, except Somalia. This ban began immediately and it has no end date. And although Trump has now removed Sudan from the original list of banned countries, he replaced it with another Muslim-majority country, Chad, to the surprise of many. The proclamation also declares that the administration will continue its “additional scrutiny” of travelers from Iraq.

Trump is trying to disguise the original Muslim ban by throwing in restrictions for travelers from North Korea and Venezuela, but this is a smokescreen. Practically no travelers come to the U.S. from North Korea, and the proclamation doesn’t actually restrict any travel by Venezuelans except certain government officials and their families on business or tourist visas. In short, it’s still only people from Muslim-majority countries who are being banned from the United States.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela – two countries that have recently been the targets of Trump’s wrath – are simply a distraction.

In a friend-of-the-court brief that AU filed a week ago with our allies, we explained to the Supreme Court that the Muslim ban is un-American and unconstitutional because it singles out people for disfavor based solely on their religion. That’s unchanged in the new ban.

Muslim ban 3.0 remains un-American and unconstitutional because it singles out people for disfavor based solely on their religion.

The administration has failed to prove that the Muslim ban – in any of its three forms – protects national security. Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security determined in February that citizenship is an “unreliable” basis for screening potential terrorists and that people from the seven countries targeted by the first Muslim ban were “rarely” involved in terrorism in the U.S. Since then, the administration has not shared any information from newer reports that were ostensibly used to create the subsequent bans.

Rather that promoting national security, Trump’s Muslim bans and rhetoric have only served to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment in the U.S. and put Americans at risk. Since January, when Trump signed the first executive order, there has been a more than 90 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes compared to the same period last year.

“Government speech and official action have real, palpable force in telling people what conduct toward others is acceptable and what is not,” our brief to the Supreme Court states. “So when the government communicates that minority groups are objects of scorn who do not belong, private citizens are encouraged to treat them as such.”

Today, the Supreme Court announced that it has temporarily canceled the Oct. 10 argument that had been scheduled in the Muslim ban cases and asked the government and the plaintiffs whether the cases should proceed in light of Trump’s revised travel restrictions. If and when the high court rules on the ban, Americans United hopes that the justices will be on the right side of history and find that the Muslim ban is an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom.

Religious freedom is about fairness: We don’t treat people differently because their beliefs are different from ours. And we certainly don’t ban them from our country due to their religion. The Muslim ban spurns the fundamental American values of freedom and fairness.

You can show your support for religious freedom and AU’s efforts to protect it by taking our pledge, “Religious Freedom Is About Fairness.” We’ve been fighting Trump’s Muslim ban from the beginning, and we don’t plan to stop now.