President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on Monday that resembles his contentious "Muslim ban" signed on January 26.
The text of Monday's executive order is similar to the Jan. 26 order, with some notable changes: Existing visa holders will be exempt from travel limits, and citizens from Iraq will no longer be barred from entering the country. The text of the order also removed language that, in the previous order, seemed to give priority to Christian refugees.
Also included is new language that claims the FBI is investigating as many as 300 refugees in the U.S. on terror-related charges. According to Politico,
Officials refused to tell reporters Monday what portion of those 300 investigations involve people who came from the six countries targeted in the new order. In addition, officials declined to detail what proportion of the probes were focused on people who recently entered the U.S. and might have been stopped by more aggressive vetting procedures or individuals who may have entered the country decades ago as children.
The executive order signed Monday maintains a travel ban for all citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, and maintains a halt on all refugee admissions for 120 days.
The new language signals the Trump administration's intent to put forward an executive order that will stand. A federal judge issued a temporary halt on the Jan. 26 order, in the midst of immediate and vociferous protest, after hearing arguments that the ban had unlawfully discriminated against Muslims and caused unreasonable harm. On Feb. 9, a federal appeals panel unanimously rejected the Trump administration's attempts to reinstate the ban, saying it had shown "no evidence" that anyone from the seven countries listed had committed terrorist acts, and that the administration's rebuke of the judges' ruling amounted to claiming that national security concerns and actions, even those that affect constituional rights and protections, are unreviewable by courts.
"We do anticipate challenges. We do not think they will have any merit,” said a justice official of Monday's executive order, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reports Politico.
As of press time, there have not yet been legal challenges to this version of the order.