Following nearly two months of massive outrage over his executive order banning refugees and citizens traveling to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries, President Donald Trump revealed a “revised” plan this week.
However, make no mistake. The ban is as Islamophobic as it was before.
The so-called new executive order exempts lawful permanent residents and current visa holders. But it’s still a Muslim ban because instead of banning people from seven Muslim-majority nations — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq — it’s only banning six. Iraq is no longer blacklisted.
Also, just like the old one, the new restrictions lack any sort of valid national security justification. Here’s why:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported to Trump that “more than 300 persons who entered the United States as refugees are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
What Sessions didn’t mention, though, was exactly how many of the 300 came from the banned countries.
The most ironic justification was the “Bowling Green Massacre.” Although Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway called it a terror attack, it's a fictional attack she made up out of thin area.
The actual 2011 incident that occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky, involved two Iraqi nationals found guilty of having ties to improvised explosive devices and of transferring money and weapons to insurgents in Iraq.
Despite the fact there was no terror attack — and the embarrassing controversy involving Conway — the Trump administration included it in its revised ban.
Now, the irony here is that while Trump cited two Iraqi individuals in the new ban, he removed Iraq from the list of the countries that were previously blacklisted.
In a nutshell, the seemingly scaled back travel ban is as idiotic and discriminatory as ever. That’s why civil rights groups are still denouncing Trump’s new order as a "Muslim ban" and have vowed to continue to fight it in court.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria