President Trump’s revised travel ban is set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but first the executive order must survive a gauntlet of legal challenges slated to be heard Wednesday in courtrooms across the country.
Those challenging the order say its provisions temporarily pausing refugee resettlement and blocking issuance of visas to prospective visitors from six majority-Muslims countries are too similar to the original order, which was put on hold by a federal judge amid concerns over constitutionality.
Government attorneys defending the order say the narrower scope, coupled with provisions that lay out a waiver process for those who might be affected, addresses the concerns of challengers calling for the courts to again halt implementation.
Two hearings are scheduled Wednesday in cases brought in Maryland and Hawaii to challenge the revised executive order rolled out March 6. A third hearing is possible, depending on what action is taken by a federal judge overseeing an additional challenge brought by the Washington state attorney general.
Under the order, citizens of six Muslim-majority countries Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will be banned from obtaining visas to come to the United States for 90 days. Iraq was dropped from the original list of banned countries. The revised version still will halt all refugee resettlement for 120 days, though it removed the original order’s permanent ban on refugees from Syria and exemptions for religious minorities, namely Christians. It also lowers the number of refugees accepted by the U.S. this year from 110,000 people to 50,000 people.
While the ban is in effect, the Trump administration has pledged to develop an extreme-vetting program for all foreign visitors to the U.S., including a biometric entry/exit system to identify who is arriving to and departing from the country.