The new version of the Trump administration’s travel ban won’t include Iraq, which further undermines the argument for having the ban at all:

“Taking Iraq off does harm the case for the travel ban,” said Jonathan Meyer, who was deputy general counsel at DHS in the Obama administration. “It hurts the argument that these countries are being selected based on objective analysis of the danger their citizens pose.” If Iraq is being taken off the list for diplomatic reasons, the decision “adds to the mounting evidence that this order is not based on risk-based policy-making.”

The threat that the ban is supposedly addressing has been grossly exaggerated and in some cases simply made up, so the ban was never going to be based on a realistic assessment of risk. The case for barring entry to all nationals from these countries on security grounds has always been exceptionally weak, and removing Iraq from the list makes it even weaker. Taking Iraq off the list while keeping Iran on it just confirms the ban’s arbitrariness and unfairness, and it shows how unrelated it is to protecting the U.S. from terrorism.

The problem for the administration is that there is no way to “revise” the order to the point where it will be defensible or reasonable as a policy. They may be able to rewrite it so that it won’t be blocked by a court, but the underlying policy will be just as absurd and harmful as before. The ban on nationals from these countries was and is unnecessary and driven by the most mindless threat inflation, and the only way to “fix” the original order is to give up on the idea all together.

The new order will reportedly exempt existing visa holders and permanent residents, but it still imposes an unnecessary burden on people from the other six countries that might apply for visas in the future. The ban makes no sense overall, but in the case of Iran it is especially ridiculous. Unless they already have visas, Iranian relatives of American citizens would be blocked from traveling to visit their family, and they would be barred solely because of their nationality. Iranian dissidents and political activists would be kept out because of the actions of a regime that they oppose. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. That has nothing to do with making America more secure. It simply punishes Iranian civilians because of their government’s actions elsewhere. In the cases of many of the other countries included on the list, it is penalizing citizens of those countries because of the instability and upheaval that U.S. policies have directly or indirectly caused.

Advertisement