Note: this was originally published in Reason, and was written by Checks & Balances member Ilya Somin.
Trump’s Expanded Travel Ban Compounds the Wrongs of Previous Versions
On Friday, the Trump administration announced an expansion of its travel ban policy that covers six new nations, which are added to those included in Travel Ban 3.0, announced in September 2017. While there are some differences between the restrictions imposed on citizens of the newly added nations and those of countries previously on the list, the expanded travel ban is still deeply unjust, still targets Muslims, still does nothing to protect national security, and is still likely to harm it at the margin. While courts may well ultimately uphold the policy against legal challenges, that is because of flaws in the Supreme Court’s ruling on the previous travel ban, not because the new one actually deserves to be upheld.
Under the newly expanded policy, nationals of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria will no longer be allowed to acquire immigration visas. Those of Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be eligible for “diversity” immigration visas (which are normally available to citizens of countries that otherwise generate few immigrants). Unlike the countries included in earlier travel bans, nationals of countries newly added to list are not subjected to a near-total ban on entry into the United States. Their citizens are still eligible for non-immigrant visas, and those of Sudan and Tanzania can still apply for non-diversity visas.
Despite these differences, the expanded travel ban still inflicts cruel injustices in ways similar to previous versions. It is also similar to previous versions in the ridiculously weak nature of the national security rationale for imposing it.
I. Why the Expanded Travel Ban is Unjust and Counterproductive.
The most obvious consequence of the travel ban expansion is that thousands of people from these countries will be denied the opportunity to live in greater freedom and prosperity than is possible in their poor, corrupt, and sometimes oppressive countries of origin. And they will be denied through no fault of their own, but merely because they made the mistake of being born to the wrong parents or in the wrong place.