White House, observers say, is likely looking at widening restrictions following Supreme Court decision
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch said this week that he suspects the White House is looking to expand the travel ban after the Supreme Court’s Monday decision, which allowed the temporary ban to go into effect with some exceptions.
The ban prohibits, for the next 90 days, the entry of people into the U.S. from six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It also suspends the refugee program for 120 days and limits the total number of refugees the U.S. will take in this year to 50,000.
Iraq, which was on the original order of countries from which entry was prohibited, was dropped in the revised order issued in March.
“I think the way it ought to go is that the pause be turned into an indefinite ban on individuals from those countries,” Fitton told LifeZette on Tuesday.
He noted that the court, in its notice on Monday, was in full agreement with the Trump administration, with all nine justices agreeing that the lower courts erred in issuing an injunction that stopped the executive order from going into effect. Fitton also called the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the ban to go into effect, and to agree to hear the case in October, a “big victory for the president.”
“It’s ratified his legal position,” he said.
On Fox Business on Monday, Fitton had said he thinks the White House is now considering next steps — which could include adding more countries to the list and reducing the number of refugees allowed into the U.S.
“Maybe they need more time, maybe they need to add to the list of countries,” he said. “Maybe they need to take more significant action to further restrict the refugee flows. My guess is there was a menu of options they were considering that might be expanded after this resounding victory.”
In announcing the executive order, the Department of Homeland Security had cited the government’s need and duty “to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals” and said the countries named were “designated by Congress and the Obama Administration as posing national security risks with respect to visa-free travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.” It referred to the six as “countries compromised by terrorism.”
The 90-day period was to allow time for the government to establish “standards to prevent terrorist or criminal infiltration by foreign nationals.”
“Maybe it’s made permanent absent new developments, and that could be the results of the analysis after 90 days,” said Fitton. “Is the Sudan going to be any better in 90 days? Is Yemen going to be any better in 90 days?”
Former Army intelligence officer Col. Ralph Peters, who has traveled extensively in the Muslim world, said the list is incomplete and excludes countries that should have been included.
“I look at this list of countries. Why is Iran on here?” he asked.
“Not one terrorist attack on the United States itself or Canada has been by a Shia,” Peters told LifeZette. “All the attacks can be traced back to Saudi or Gulf Arab money.”
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Egypt, and one was from Lebanon. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, named the “principal architect of the attacks,” is from Pakistan. His nephew, Ramzi Yousef, thought to be the leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was born in Kuwait to parents who were from Pakistan. The founder of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, was from Saudi Arabia and operated out of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
None of these countries are on the list in the president’s executive order. The order instead focused on terrorism-compromised nations without the adequate civil infrastructure to provide documentation or information on citizens looking to travel to the U.S.
Despite its level of civil sophistication, Saudi Arabia, said Peters, “should have been the first country on that list.”
“The Saudis gave us al-Qaida. The Saudis gave us, unintentionally, ISIS as well,” he said, adding that the Saudis, while attempting to sideline terrorists, have continued to support Wahhabism.
In January, following the rollout of the first travel ban, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said there may be additional countries added to the list.
“Perhaps other countries need to be added going forward,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Jan. 29. “But in order to pass muster … we included the seven.”