After federal courts struck down Donald Trump’s first two Muslim bans, his functionaries crafted a third one. In an attempt to withstand judicial scrutiny by convincing the courts it is not really aimed at Muslims, Trump’s new travel ban (Muslim Ban 3.0) cosmetically adds two countries — Venezuela and North Korea — that do not have Muslim-majority populations. Nevertheless, the new ban suffers from the same constitutional infirmities as the first and second Muslim bans.
Trump’s second ban, which had included slight changes from his first one, was issued on March 6 and expired on September 24. It restricted travel to the United States by nationals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan.
The new ban, issued by Trump in a “proclamation” on September 24, restricts travel by most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. It bars everyone from Syria and North Korea from obtaining visas. Nationals from the other six countries will be subjected to varying additional security checks. Iranian students are exempted from the ban. It also forbids Venezuelan government officials and their families from traveling to the US.
This newest iteration, like its predecessors, violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause by prohibiting nationals from eight countries, including six with Muslim majorities, from traveling to the United States.