Trump signs new travel ban exempting Iraq
Washington [U.S.A.], Mar. 6 (ANI): U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed a revised executive order banning immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, dropping Iraq from January's previous order.
The ban covers Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, reports the CNN.
Explaining the reason for exempting Iraq from the travel ban, the Trump administration said Iraq will "increase cooperation with the U.S. government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States."
The revised travel ban comes six weeks after Trump's original executive order was rolled out to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide, and eventually blocked by a federal court.
Explaining the order White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox and Friends on Monday that the new order makes clear that lawful permanent residents or green card holders are excluded from any travel ban. Also, those with validly issued visas will also be exempted from the ban.
"If you have travel docs, if you actually have a visa, if you are a legal permanent resident, you are not covered under this particular executive action. Also, Iraq is no longer on the list based on their enhanced screening and reporting measures."
The earlier order that barred citizens from seven countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, all refugees for 120 days and indefinitely halted refugees from Syria came under intense criticism as an attempt to bar Muslims from entering the country.
Administration officials on Monday stressed they do not see the ban as targetting a specific religion.
All refugees will be be barred for 120 days under the new order. The previous version had banned Syrian refugees indefinitely.
According to CNN, the newly crafted order also revealed that the administration wasn't just paying attention to the legal criticism in the courts, but, also recalibrating in light of the heavy political fire they faced after the first order's messy rollout.
While administration lawyers argued the original travel ban went into effect immediately to prevent terrorists from rushing into the country, the revised ban will phase in after 10 days.
To bolster its national security claims, the new executive order will also include information that the FBI has reported that approximately 300 persons who entered the United States as refugees are "currently the subjects of counter-terrorism investigations," the administration officials told reporters.
Meanwhile, the new order was also delayed in part because of a debate within the administration over how to handle Iraq.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster had all advocated for Iraq to be removed from the Trump administration's list of banned countries in the new executive order for diplomatic reasons, including Iraq's role in fighting the ISIS. (ANI)