What’s so Different about Trump’s New Travel Ban?

Meeting PlanningNews

While President Trump’s new travel ban, issued Monday, still targets a handful of mostly Muslim nations, the country most notably missing is Iraq.

Iraq had been one of seven countries included in the president’s initial executive order that had blocked travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States. The administration’s revision now places a 90-day ban on new visas for citizens of the remaining six.

“Each of these countries is a state sponsor of terrorism, has been significantly compromised by terrorist organizations, or contains active conflict zones,” reads Trump’s new executive order. “Any of these circumstances diminishes the foreign government’s willingness or ability to share or validate important information about individuals seeking to travel to the United States.”

In response, the ACLU’s legal director David Cole, said: “President Trump, we’ll see you in court.

“The new order remains deeply unconstitutional and an affront to the principles on which this country was founded,” the ACLU said in a post on its website. “We at the ACLU, and other organizations, advocates, states, cities, and individuals across the country, will keep fighting in courts and will keep voicing our opposition to this abhorrent religious discrimination.”

Another departure from the original order is a 120-day suspension of the refugee program that also reduces the number of refugees allowed into the United States, from 110,000 per year to 50,000. The changes will take effect March 16.

The new travel ban reflects the administration’s hope that the executive order will withstand the legal challenges that stalled its predecessor. It allows for case-by-case waivers and explicitly states that the order applies only to new visas. The new order should not apply to those who already have visas or green cards.

Travel Industry Responds

For the business travel industry, the travel ban has had a negative impact. A Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) study said the U.S. travel industry lost $185 million in business in the first week after the original executive order. Petitions calling for a U.S. meeting boycott have drawn thousands of signatures.

In a blog post on its website, GBTA stated that the revised order was a step forward, but measuring its impact on business travel would require continued monitoring.

“This travel ban is an improvement over the Jan. 27 version, as it is narrower in scope and provides greater clarity about those travelers who would not be subject to the ban,” said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA executive director and COO. “The specific exemption for legal permanent residents, dual nationals and current visa holders will help mitigate confusion for the international traveling public.”

“Any increased restrictions on passenger travel must be based in safety and security to ensure that the ability to travel is not impeded unnecessarily. It will remain a focus of the business travel industry to hold disruptions to a minimum, and we will continue to monitor the implementation of this ban closely.”

Meetings Mean Business made a statement in response to the new travel ban: “A Meetings Mean Business survey, conducted after the initial executive order, found that the majority of meetings industry professionals were concerned about reputational harm to the U.S. Our industry is centered on bringing people together, fostering relationships, driving positive outcomes, and supporting communities where meetings and events are held.”

We reiterate our belief that striking the right balance between enhanced security and travel facilitation is of the utmost importance.”

In a statement issued Thursday, the U.S. Travel Association urged the president to make clear that United States is a welcoming country that values international travelers on business or vacation.

“Security is a top priority for the U.S. travel community, but it’s critical to balance both sides of the ledger: make clear who is not welcome, but also who remains welcome,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Not doing so would be to double-down on doubts, discontent and division that risk significant economic harm.”

The association has yet to make a public statement on Trump’s new travel ban.