Despite What You’ve Heard Most of Trump’s Executive Orders on Travel Haven’t Been Stopped

The President’s executive order on immigration was badly written and interpreted to have some immediate perverse consequences such as (temporarily) denying entry to the United States to an Iraqi escaping death threats after working for years for the US military. And keeping out an Iranian tech worker living in Canada who was supposed to come to the US to join a startup incubator. And even would make a professional basketball player with dual citizenship unable to play games in Canada.

The order was enjoined in federal court — a temporary measure subject to continued litigation, and subject to re-writing to better comply with laws (apparently the order hadn’t been reviewed in advance by the administration’s own Office of Legal Counsel as is normally required according to the OLC’s own website and instead written by a team led by Rudy Guiliani in order to give facial plausibility to a Muslim ban).

Copyright: andreyuu / 123RF Stock Photo

We don’t yet know the manner or extent to which the administration will comply with the orders. Regardless, not all of the Executive Order was stopped. And not all of the actions taken by the current administration that will affect travel and the rights of travelers was contained solely in that Executive Order on immigration.

  • While deportations have been stopped, the order still freezes visa issuance to people from countries that have not supplied a single terrorist to the US (but not from countries that have).

  • And it still places new limits on accepting refugees, suspends the Visa Interview waiver program (note: this is not a suspension of ESTA), and requires the collection and publication of data on immigrants “relevant to public safety and security” designed to stoke outrage and anti-immigrant sentiment.

  • Identifying any country whose visa reciprocity agreements with the U.S. aren’t ‘truly reciprocal’ in order to place limits on or raise costs of entry for citizens of those countries.

  • As I wrote yesterday, the Executive Order demands the establishment of border exit controls not just entry controls. These would apply to US citizens, not only to foreigners or foreigners from specific countries. The expense involved makes the likelihood of full deployment unclear, but this element of the Executive Order hasn’t to my knowledge been challenged in court (and is actually specifically authorized in law).

    Copyright: prestonia / 123RF Stock Photo

  • Wednesday’s Executive Order on public safety in the interior of the U.S. contains a provision to limit protections of the Privacy Act to U.S. citizens only.

    Sec. 14. Privacy Act. Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.

    The EU has much stricter privacy rules than the U.S. does. The US and EU have a data protection agreement that subjects travel reservation (PNR) data to privacy safeguards. It’s a precondition for the EU allowing its airlines to provide data demanded by the US government. However the agreement is not US law, and thus undermined by the executive order.

While a limited portion of the executive order limiting travel has been temporarily placed on hold, much of the order and other orders remain in place.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This is an important issue and critical to how the world see us. Thank you for reporting on how this rushed Executive Order impacts our travels and the lives of people. It’s among your most impactful posts to date.

  2. Gary,
    Most of the rightwing extremists are ignorant, illiterate, KKK supporters, wife-beaters and pedophiles. Don’t listen to these nuts..they are beyond redemption!
    Keep up the good work and educate the rest of us..

  3. I think all the outraged people should go find a pro-Trump frequent flyer blog where they can harness the power of their bubble thinking. They have to have their own right wing TV and websites. Maybe they can find their own blogs too.

    Million Mile Secrets wears a bow tie. Maybe he’s an intellectual conservative. Oh wait, those people hate Trump too…

  4. Gary, I appreciate the information you have included in this post. The topic is clearly travel-related and factual. I had not seen any news about the USA-EU privacy issue, so this perspective is unique and welcome. I will start researching this further.
    One other note, I’m not a liberal. Never have been, never will be. But to assume that some people who ran for office under a particular party’s banner are conservative, or looking out for all Americans, is simply foolish. We must all question our government office holders, no matter who they are or what party affiliation they claim.

    Critical thinking is imperative.

  5. So Gary, you are doubling down on your Fake News story yesterday; “such as (temporarily) denying entry to the United States to an Iraqi escaping death threats after working for years for the US military”. He was not “denied entry”, he was held up long enough to be questioned and it was determined that he met the requirements for immediate entry, and then allowed in.

    Please post links to your past posts that angrily protested these similar actions by former President Obama:

    From ABC News “Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees”

    “Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    “As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said”.

    All Iraqis banned for SIX MONTHS, with no notice, including those whose lives were endangered from having aided US troops, at least one of whom was indeed murdered due to this no notice rule by Obama’s executive order..

    Please post a link to where you angrily protested that…

    From liberal Washington Post: “Obama’s cruel policy reversal on Cuban refugees”

    “For some fifty years, the US has had a policy of welcoming refugees fleeing the brutal communist dictatorship in Cuba. In the 1990s, the policy was changed to “wetfoot, dryfoot,” under which Cubans who succeeded in reaching the United States would be allowed to stay, but those unfortunate enough to be caught at sea were barred. On Thursday, President Obama ended the wetfoot, dryfoot policy and made Cuban refugees “subject to removal,” like undocumented migrants from other countries.”

    “President Obama and the US government are not responsible for the oppression that Cuban refugees are fleeing. But they are responsible for using force to compel refugees to return to a nation where further oppression is likely to be their lot. Such action makes the US government partially complicit in the injustice perpetrated by the Cuban regime.”

    Again, by executive action, Obama with no notice at all, suddenly ordered that Cuban refugees that had left Cuba days earlier in dangerous unseaworthy boats, and unlike the thousands who have died trying, managed to get here safely, were told they got here one day late, and would now be sent back to be punished by the Communist country of Cuba for the crime of trying to escape that “workers paradise” (sic).

    When has there ever been a Terrorist attack in the US by a Cuban immigrant?

    Please post a link to the post where you angrily protested Obama doing this “with no notice” by “executive order”….

    There is a saying “if it wasn’t for double standards, they wouldn’t have any standards at all”, but I’m sure that doesn’t apply to you. So I’m looking forward to reading those past posts of yours that I somehow missed at the time you posted them…

  6. A Federal judge will see to it orders are served by Marshalls 24/7 and then if violated the agency heads responsible can be jailed without notice until they comply. “Acting under orders” is not a defense as a judge’s order is inviolate until overruled by a higher court.

    Even more significant today is that Joint Chiefs were demoted off National Security (War) Council replaced by White National Leninist Bannon. This helps ensure that we may still be protected by a military coup if Pumpkinhead waddles too far off the rails.

    You are delusional if you don’t realize he is considered the greatest threat worldwide now. The rednecks who wrecked us with Bush are back with far worse!

  7. The folks calling Gary left wing clearly haven’t been reading this blog. That said, Gary is spot on this one. This is a dispassionate analysis of the very worrying facts. Good work.

  8. @allen roskoff
    And yes Norita, if you support Trump you are a racist In agreement with the KKK.

    Wow just Wow! To call an immigrant (I did not mention “white”) a KKK supporter? Ever look beyond your nose? Ever give even a fleeting thought to what gave rise to Trump? Look at and treat the cause/disease not the symptom/Trump.

  9. Gary —

    Have you seen/heard about protests re the banning of Israelis and travelers with Israeli passport stamps (i.e., the Jewish travel ban)? Specifically, Iran, Iraq*, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ban Israelis. Iran, Syria, Sudan Libya, and Yemen ban also ban anyone that has an Israeli passport stamp. In other words, 6 of the 7 countries that have been temporarily banned by the USA have their own religious travel bans. Notably, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and UAE also ban Israelis, and Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia also ban travelers with Israeli passport stamps. I don’t recall the protests against these religious bans? Was this something that I missed?

    * Interestingly, there does not appear to be a ban in Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Please note that none of the above should be construed as fully supporting the current policy.

  10. Its so sad to read posts here where people simply say the words “complete moron”, and think they have said anything of any substance at all. That reeks of kindergarten recess taunts at best. The only reasonable response to such a statement is: ‘I know you are, but what is he’? 😉

    From Wikipedia

    “Moron” was coined in 1910 by psychologist Henry H. Goddard[3] from the Ancient Greek word μωρός (moros), which meant “dull”[4] and used to describe a person with a mental age in adulthood of between 8 and 12 on the Binet scale.[5] It was once applied to people with an IQ of 51–70, being superior in one degree to “imbecile” (IQ of 26–50) and superior in two degrees to “idiot” (IQ of 0–25). The word moron, along with others including, “idiotic”, “imbecilic”, “stupid”, and “feeble-minded”, was formerly considered a valid descriptor in the psychological community, but it is now deprecated in use by psychologists.”

    It’s not difficult to understand that someone with a very leftist ideology would feel threatened by DJT. But to say that someone who has made Billions in business, and then ran a successful POTUS campaign while being opposed by not only the entire Dem party, but also 95% of the Mass Media, and a substantial percentage of the Rep establishment, has an IQ of 51-70 is utterly absurd.

    As for those who say “White National Leninist Bannon”, the idea that the Trump Administration is “Lenninist” is patently absurd. Lenin lead a socialist revolution to overthrow Capitalism by force. Under Lenninism the State rules the country regulating virtually the entire National means of production.

    Trump’s recent pledge to a groups of CEOs to reduce government regulation by perhaps as much as 75%, so as to get private businesses back to work, is obviously the opposite of Leninism. This reeks of Orwell’s famous description of this sort of irrational discourse: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”


  11. Once again Hanson nothing you vomit is rooted in any fact found in any mainstream source. You may be able to dupe the GOP’s ignorant rednecks with Alternative facts, but it doesn’t fly here outside of Mom’s basement.

    Bannon described himself at one point as a Leninist and now as an anarchist.who wants to destroy the system. This is who.Trump replaced the top General on the National Security Council. His National Security adviser is the one who retweeted the lie that Hillary Clinton was running a child prostitution ring out Of a DC pizza Parlor

    Even the Rednecks I grew up around who are easily duped by the GOP in the past., we’re so ashamed to admit they were going to vote for Trump if there wasn’t a yard sign to be seen in my Southwest Missouri Hometown just before the election. So it falls to the most extreme, lunatic nutbags who chew their legs off in the Public Square to defend this blood blister of a mental case

  12. Hitler came to power, using fascist propaganda machine, denigrating immigrants/handicap/women/non-white.., fear-mongering, spreading hate and blaming/scapegoating easy targets like minorities/immigrants…
    History is repeating itself..

  13. We have no history of tolerating dictators like Russia or authoritarian power grabs like Bush tried and was slapped back fiercely even while trying to shroud himself in.9/11 which he let happen after clear warnings.

    The media was much more obedient to Bush than they are proving to tolerate in the slightest with Trump. With two-thirds of the public strongly set against him and already having made mortal enemies of the media, his prospects are so gloomy he’ll be lucky to get away with impeachment or a soft military coup.

  14. What a coincidence that the Muslim travel ban doesn’t apply to countries where Trump does business, huh? Like Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 hijackers came from….

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