Advocates for refugees swiftly denounced President Trump’s revised executive order that temporarily suspends the refugee resettlement program as a discriminatory and inhumane measure that threatened the nation’s long-standing commitment to protect people fleeing violence and persecution.
Refugee Council USA, a coalition of U.S. non-governmental organizations that advocates on behalf of refugees, condemned the order as a “harmful and ill-considered” action that “singles out the most vetted, most vulnerable people.”
“The order does nothing to improve our national security and will have painful human consequences,” Hans van de Weerd, chair of RCUSA said in a statement. “It will separate families and leave tens of thousands of people – mostly women and children – exposed to grave danger and despair."
The attorney general of Washington state, whose case against President Trump's initial travel ban brought that planl to a halt, said Monday that his office is considering its "next legal steps" concerning the administration's new travel order.
"By rescinding his earlier executive order, President Trump makes one thing perfectly clear: His original travel ban was indefensible — legally, constitutionally and morally," Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson said in a statement.
“The president has capitulated on numerous key provisions blocked by our lawsuit, including bans on Green Card holders, visa holders and dual citizens, an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees, and explicit preferences based on religion," he said. "We are carefully reviewing the new executive order to determine its impacts on Washington state and our next legal steps."
Imam Ahmed Rakan Ahmed was preparing for evening prayers Monday at his mosque in East Mosul, Iraq, when he heard about the revised travel ban signed by President Trump.
Militants had forced him to flee with his family when they captured the city but he returned and reopened the mosque in December. Many of the families it serves are poor, but they have been gathering donations for those worse off as fighting has shifted to the city's west side.
"The executive order, for the Mosulawi people, it's not important for us. What's important for us is what's happening on the west side of Mosul, those displaced people who are suffering," the Muslim spiritual leader said as the call to prayer sounded.
Abu Hasan, a commander of popular mobilization forces fighting to free Mosul from Islamic State, was standing at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city at dusk when he heard about President Trump's revised travel ban.
"The people of Iraq suffered a lot of terrorism. The order was wrong, wrong, wrong," he said of the original travel ban that included Iraq. "We are defending not just Iraq but the world against Islamic State. Hopefully our relationship with the Americans will develop and we will have an alliance against terrorism."
Ahmed Galadi, 30, a federal police officer with the emergency response division fighting in West Mosul, was encouraged by the revised ban, which he called "a secure decision."
President Trump's revised travel ban brought swift criticism from Democrats in Congress on Monday, while Republicans who largely back the White House approach remained notably silent.
Most Republicans have supported Trump's efforts to halt visitors from several predominantly Muslim countries entering the United States. But GOP lawmakers endured blowback after the administration's botched rollout of its initial travel ban in January, which erupted in protests and airport disruptions in cities across the nation. Lawmakers heard complaints from businesses, colleges and residents, and Republicans responded more cautiously this time.
"I look forward to reading the details of the president’s new executive order and conducting oversight to ensure it is implemented smoothly," said the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas.
Rachel Ramey and her Iraqi husband applied for a U.S. visa almost a year ago. She was shocked by the first travel ban, which suspended travel for Iraqis and still felt "nervous" after hearing about the revised ban.
"What if we get to the airport and have everything together and they say, 'No, we're denying you,'" said Ramey, 33, a teacher, from her home in the northern city of Sulaymaniyah.
She said the revision was "encouraging" but until the vetting process is spelled out, "It's just more delay."
Justin Cox, a lawyer at the National Immigration Law Center who took the Trump administration to court over the first travel ban and won a hold almost immediately from a Brooklyn federal judge, said he sees little "substantive" difference between the old ban and the new one.
Cox, who represents plaintiffs in Darweesh vs. Trump, a case that is still pending in the courts, said his organization is ready to fight the new ban.
"This new ban is just tinkering on the edges of the old one. But the underlying legal claims against it don't change that much," said Cox.
Top Trump administration officials said the revised ban on travel from six Muslim majority countries has been explained thoroughly to members of Congress and the news media prior to its Monday morning release, hoping to draw a contrast with the earlier ban that was met with confusion in the days after Trump was inaugurated.
"There should be no surprises — whether it's in the media or on Capitol Hill,” Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said during an announcement at the Department of Homeland Security.
Kelly spoke alongside Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions. None took questions. The briefings they spoke about were all done off-camera. And, in the case of the media briefing, the administration did not allow officials to be quoted by name.