The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition is condemning President Trump’s executive order issued Monday, which TIRRC is calling “Muslim Ban 2.0.”
The revised executive order, which revokes an executive order from January 27, places a temporary 90-day ban on immigration from residents of six Middle Eastern countries (Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Libya, and Yemen) whose Muslim populations total 167 million, or about ten percent of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
President Trump’s plans to enforce immigration laws, fight terrorism and reduce refugee flows, however, have broad support among his supporters who elected him to office in November. At Saturday’s large pro-Trump Spirit of America Rally in Nashville, there were signs reading “Close the Borders,” “Freedom Isn’t Free. Security. Law-Order. Sovereignty,” and “Veterans Before Refugees,” and several speakers vigorously supported the president’s plans for greater vetting and screening of all immigrants.
In a news release, TIRRC acknowledged that the new executive order removes Iraq from the list of countries affected by the ban, Syrians will no longer be indefinitely banned but are subject to the same 120-day moratorium as other refugees, and green card holders will not be affected.
“However, the intent and impact of this sweeping executive order remains intact,” the statement said. Stephanie Teatro, co-executive director of TIRRC, was quoted in the news release as saying that the Trump administration “is intent on taking a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty.”
President Trump’s original order issued at the end of January met with immediate and fierce opposition from activist groups nationwide and parts of it were blocked by a federal judge in Washington state and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. But the courts did not overturn Trump’s plan to lower the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year to 50,000, in contrast to the 110,000 that former President Obama wanted the U.S. to accept in 2017.
The lowered cap led to the recent closing of World Relief’s Nashville office and caused Catholic Charities of Middle Tennessee to reduce their resettlement staff by 30 percent. Trump’s revised order retains the 50,000 cap and notes that the president believes an amount above that number “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and [I] thus suspend any entries in excess of that number until such time as I determine that additional entries would be in the national interest.”
The National Partnership for New Americans, a national umbrella group of left wing activists, also released a statement Monday condemning Trump’s revised order.
“The order issued today is more of the same: state-sanctioned bigotry and fear-mongering built on layers of false premises,” the statement from NPNA said. “Refugees and others fleeing persecution, war, poverty, deserve our protection. People from the six countries listed by the updated order are not inherently dangerous.”
However, Trump’s new executive order details exactly why the administration continues to believe that citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen should be temporarily barred from entering the U.S. Those countries, the order says, have been state sponsors of terror or have offered safe haven to terrorists. They are unwilling or unable to fully cooperate with the U.S. in counterterrorism efforts. While Trump’s order has been dubbed a Muslim ban by critics, it does not exclusively affect Muslims.
In the case of Iraq, the new executive order notes that since the issuance of the original order, “the Iraqi government has expressly undertaken steps to enhance travel documentation, information sharing, and the return of Iraqi nationals subject to final orders of removal.” The administration says it will be remain vigilant, noting in the order that “decisions about issuance of visas or granting admission to Iraqi nationals should be subjected to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants have connections with ISIS or other terrorist organizations, or otherwise pose a risk to either national security or public safety.”