By: Zack Duvall
According to Fox News, a senior White House official confirmed on Saturday that the Trump administration plans to roll out a revised executive order regarding travel restrictions it plans to introduce affecting, and potentially ceasing, travel from certain Middle Eastern and African countries possibly as soon as later today or tomorrow.
The administration’s first attempt at implementing travel restrictions towards countries, identified by the Obama administration as being hot spots for terror and terrorist organizations, was met with extremely harsh criticism and push back from numerous pro-immigration groups, congressional Democrats, and even some Republicans for confusion over legal status of green card and visa holders, as well as permanent residents who returning home from the countries outlined in the order when the order went into effect.
The White House and supporters of the restrictions defended the move at the time as necessary and cited the fact that the Obama administration had even labeled the countries affected by the order as terror hot spots that threatened U.S. national security, and that the number of reports of terror related activity has grown in the last few years in many of the countries named in the order.
The President addressed the need for increased security and vetting procedures to be put in place in light of the growing threat of radical Islamic terror during his first congressional address this past Tuesday.
“The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country.” President Trump said during the address.
“It is not compassionate, but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America. And we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists. That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shorty take new steps to keep our nation safe.” He stated.
The new order looks to build on a plan that critics said when it was released was hastily put together and lacked any real constitutional authority because of the fact that it didn’t establish procedures or differentiate between refugees or new arrivals, and U.S. citizens or legal residents that were simply returning home from traveling abroad. As a result, it was challenged in federal courts and has been caught up in the appeals process since the beginning of February, when a federal judge suspended the order.
The previous order not only sparked outrage from political figures, but from many grassroots organizations and groups as well, who organized sizable and very vocal rallies at major airports across the country.
The Trump administration however, who campaigned heavily on the issue of national security and what he called “extreme vetting”, despite the outcry from largely left leaning groups nationally, cited the fact that the FBI currently has active investigations ongoing in every state of the country directly related to terror activity , and the fact that the terror attacks that took place in Europe within the last two years were carried out in part by foreign nationals as examples of why such vetting and security action was needed.
The new order by the President is expected to include six of the same seven countries on the original order which include Yemen, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Libya. The administration has removed Iraq from the list in light of recent efforts and gains the Iraqi government has made in the fight against ISIS in the region.