Monday 19 March 2018

Kenny in White House on first day of Trump's new travel ban

Enda Kenny is set to meet Trump on the first day of the new travel ban. Photo: Reuters
Enda Kenny is set to meet Trump on the first day of the new travel ban. Photo: Reuters Newsdesk Newsdesk

US President Donald Trump's new travel ban comes into force on the day he will welcome the Taoiseach to the White House.

Enda Kenny's interactions with Mr Trump will be even more closely scrutinised after it was confirmed a revised travel order will apply from March 16. The order leaves Iraq off the list of banned countries but still affects would-be visitors and immigrants from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.

Mr Trump signed the new order yesterday but deferred its enactment until the day before St Patrick's Day. The Taoiseach's schedule for Washington is yet to be finalised but it is understood he will meet Mr Trump in the White House before travelling to Capitol Hill for lunch. The White House will then host the 'Shamrock Ceremony'.

Asked if Mr Kenny will challenge Mr Trump on the ban, a spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "The Taoiseach will again raise the plight of the undocumented Irish in the US as he has done on all previous visits."

Everything you need to know about the new travel ban

1. So, Trump has signed a new travel ban?

Yes, the US President signed this one in private without the fanfare of the first. Trump publicly criticized judges who ruled against him in his first executive order and vowed to fight the case in the Supreme Court, but then decided to draw up a new order with changes aimed at making it easier to defend in the courts.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

2. What does Trump's new ban mean?

Iraq is not be included on the list, but would-be visitors and immigrants from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya are still affected by the 90-day ban. The original order barred travelers from the seven nations from entering for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

Refugees from Syria were to be banned indefinitely but under the new order they are not given separate treatment.

Furthermore, the four-month halt to refugees entering the United States is now out. The new order means the refugee ban remains in place, though people already approved and on their way to the United States will be allowed in.

3. Why is Iraq no longer on the list?

Iraq is no longer included on the travel ban.

Iraq was among seven Muslim-majority countries whose nationals were temporarily banned from travelling to the United States. The new order has removed Iraq from the list under pressure from the State Department and the Defence Department, which had noted the close co-operation between the two countries in battling IS.

4. When does it come into effect?

US President Donald Trump’s new travel ban comes into force on the same day that he will be welcoming Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the White House, March 16. Mr Kenny’s interactions with the President will now be even more closely scrutinised and he will be expected to mention ban in his speech.

5. Why is it being delayed?

The delay aims to limit the disruption created by the original Jan 27 order before a US judge suspended it on Feb 3.

6. What happens next?

The Washington State Attorney General says he will now decide on the next litigation steps after consulting with state universities and businesses about potential harms.

7. What was said about the controversy of the first travel ban?

The first travel ban came only a week after Trump was inaugurated, and it sparked chaos and protests at airports, as well as a wave of criticism from targeted countries, Western allies and some of America's leading corporations.

"It is the president's solemn duty to protect the American people," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters after Trump signed the new order. "As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country."

8. ... and how will the new ban be received?

The leader of the minority Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said he expected the revised order to have the same uphill battle in the courts as the original version.

"A watered down ban is still a ban," he said in a statement. "Despite the administration's changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American. It must be repealed."

9. Is there chaos expected?

Refugees who are "in transit" and already have been approved would be able to travel to the United States.

"There’s going to be a very orderly process," a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said. "You should not see any chaos so to speak, or alleged chaos at airports. There aren’t going to be folks stopped tonight from coming into the country because of this executive order."

Irish Independent

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