U.S. immigration lawyers are ready to take President Donald Trump to court—again—for his latest executive order on immigration, which civil rights experts say is just a Muslim ban by another name, and which the United Nations warned Tuesday would exacerbate the refugee crisis.
"While the White House may have made changes to the ban, the intent to discriminate against Muslims remains clear. This doesn't just harm the families caught in the chaos of President Trump's draconian policies—it's diametrically opposed to our values, and makes us less safe," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday.
"I stand ready to litigate—again—in order to protect New York's families, institutions, and economy," he said.
The new order bans entry to the U.S. for 90 days for travelers from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen, targeting those who did not already have a valid visa by January 27, 2017. It also blocks all refugees from entering the country for 120 days, which U.N. high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi warned would "compound the anguish" for those fleeing deadly violence and persecution around the world.
Those six majority-Muslim countries were all targeted in Trump's first executive order—which he dropped after it was suspended in a court ruling last month—along with Iraq, which was left off the list this time.
But rights advocates said none of the tweaks change the fact that the memo is unconstitutional.
"By rescinding his earlier executive order, President Trump makes one thing perfectly clear: His original travel ban was indefensible—legally, constitutionally, and morally," said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who was key in striking down the original memo after his lawsuit was upheld by federal Judge James Robart.
"We are carefully reviewing the new executive order to determine its impacts on Washington state and our next legal steps," Ferguson said Monday.
A Department of Homeland Security (DHS) document leaked just days before the new order was unveiled showed that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists were radicalized years after their entry to the U.S.—which many said discredited Trump's justification for the original memo.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Monday that the "scaled-back version...shares the same fatal flaws" as the first ban.
"What's more, the changes the Trump administration has made, and everything we've learned since the original ban rolled out, completely undermine the bogus national security justifications the president has tried to hide behind and only strengthen the case against his unconstitutional executive orders," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
Jadwat added, "The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban."