On Monday Donald Trump signed a new executive order banning US entry to nationals of six Muslim countries for 90 days. The amended order is designed to overcome the obstacle of justice and avoid the worldwide outcry of its first version.
The acceptance of refugees is also suspended for 120 days, in order to put in place new procedures to verify the past of the applicants.
The US president continued to fight on another front, with the deal of supposed contacts between his entourage and Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
After accusing Barack Obama this weekend of having tapped him before the election, he asked the Congress to expand his investigation and step up the hunt for “escapees”.
Mr. Trump, invisible Monday, signed the decree in the Oval Office, not at a media event. It will come into force on 16 March.
The decree “is a vital step to strengthen our national security,” US Foreign Minister Rex Tillerson said in a statement with his Justice and Homeland Security counterparts.
“The principles of the decree remain the same,” said Sean Spicer, spokesman for the White House.
Main amendments to the decree of January 27th, blocked by federal justice: Iraq is no longer a country whose nationals can no longer enter the United States, and permanent residents (“green cards”) and Visa holders are explicitly protected.
For the refugees, the break will last 120 days, as before. But this time also applies to Syrian refugees, who were banned indefinitely in the previous version of the text. As for the refugees whose trip to the United States was already planned, they will be able to go there.
This presidential decree is the prelude to the setting up of a policy of “extreme verification” at the borders – which remains to be defined – in order to prevent jihadist infiltrations.
The administration has justified the urgency of these measures by stating that about 300 people who have entered as refugees are currently being investigated by the FBI.
With the first decree, suspended by a judge on 3 February and definitively revoked on Monday, Donald Trump was accused of discrimination – potentially unconstitutional – against Muslims. This new version is presented as more legally solid.
Much more detailed, this new version decree is twice as long. And the preference given to persecuted religious minorities, which favored Christians, was suppressed.
There are many possible exemptions, on a case-by-case basis: those visiting family, having a child in need of emergency care, or foreigners who have worked for the US military, likely referring to Iraqi interpreters, Some of which had been blocked at airports.
And the president describes in length the security situation of the six countries prohibited.
These are the three countries listed by the United States as “supporting terrorism” (Iran, Syria, Sudan), as well as three states “significantly compromised by terrorist organizations” or being theaters of “active conflict zones “(Libya, Somalia, Yemen). It was not possible to verify the plaintiffs’ records, according to the US administration.
This rewriting satisfied the Republican majority, many of whom had disassociated themselves from the government.
“This new decree promotes our common goal of protecting the country,” said Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
But the NGOs and the Democratic opposition denounced a text that was hardly watered down, always discriminatory.
The large civil rights association ACLU has promised to challenge it, by giving “Rendez-vous to court” on Twitter.
“This new decree continues to stigmatize Islam and Muslims. It does not make America safer, but it makes it smaller, “said Nihad Awad, director of CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
Iraq is no longer targeted because its government has agreed to provide additional information on its citizens requesting visas. Baghdad, who had protested to be banished, welcomed the reversal.
During the 120-day break, Washington will ask some countries to share more information.
With this cautious launch, the executive wishes to avoid the scenes of confusion seen at airports at the end of January, when the decree had been applied without warning.
“There will be no chaos in the airports,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Homeland Security. “If you have a valid visa, you will not have a problem,” assured a senior official of the State Department.