On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven predominately Muslim countries. Yet a lot of confusion surrounds the order, exactly what it means, and even what to call it.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Tuesday, January 31, that the executive order is not a “Muslim ban” or “travel ban,” but rather measures for extreme vetting.
Indeed, during the Mattis Ceremony at the Pentagon, Trump said: “I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamist terrorists out of the United States of America.”
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelley notes: “This is not a travel ban, this is a temporary pause that allows us to better review the existing refugee and visa vetting system.”
Whatever it is ultimately labeled, the executive order applies to the countries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. It bans travel from these countries for 90 days and suspends refugee admission for 120 days.
In the order, Trump cites the September 11 attacks of 2001 several times. Some have questioned why the list does not include any of the origin countries of the 9/11 attackers: Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and even Saudi Arabia, where a majority of the attackers were from. The reason for exclusion is unclear.
The list also excludes Pakistan and Afghanistan, where extremism has persisted for decades, and does not include European countries where Muslim communities have led attacks in Paris and Brussels in the name of the Islamic State.
The new measures have caused much confusion and concern across the globe, and its implications for the travel industry continue to unfold.