President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban will temporarily halt entry to the United States for people from six Muslim-majority nations who are seeking new visas, allowing those with current visas to travel freely.
Trump was to sign the new executive order on Monday. The directive aims to address legal issues with the original order, which caused confusion at airports, sparked protests around the country and was ultimately blocked by the courts.
The revised order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen does not apply to those who already have valid visas. The White House also dropped Iraq from the list of targeted countries, following pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider, given Iraq’s key role in fighting the Islamic State group.
Iraq says its removal from revised U.S. travel ban sends a ‘positive message’ for relations.
The fact sheet cites negotiations that resulted in Iraq agreeing to “increase cooperation with the U.S. government on the vetting of its citizens applying for a visa to travel to the United States.”
The mere existence of a fact sheet signaled that the White House was taking steps to improve the rollout of the reworked directive. The initial measure was hastily signed at the end of Trump’s first week in office, and the White House was roundly criticized for not providing lawmakers, Cabinet officials and others with information ahead of the signing.
Notably, Trump was not expected to hold a public signing ceremony for the new measure. Instead, several Cabinet secretaries — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — planned to discuss the order at an event late Monday morning.
Trump administration officials say that even with the changes, the goal of the new order is the same as the first: keeping would-be terrorists out of the United States while the government reviews the vetting system for refugees and visa applicants from certain parts of the world.
According to the fact sheet, the Department of Homeland Security will conduct a country-by-country review of the information the six targeted nations provide to the U.S. for visa and immigration decisions. Those countries will then have 50 days to comply with U.S. government requests to update or improve that information.
Additionally, Trump’s order suspends the entire U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.
Other changes are also expected, including no longer singling out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. Syrian refugees will now be treated like other refugees and be subjected to the 120-day suspension of the refugee program.
The new version is also expected to remove language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims.
Story by The Associated Press