Trump signs new 'revised Muslim ban' order

Trump signs new 'revised Muslim ban' order
Donald Trump signed a new travel ban order barring citizens from several Muslim-majority nations on Monday, after making revisions to the original controversial ban.

3 min read
06 March, 2017
Donald Trump's original travel ban was overturned by US courts [AFP]

US President Donald Trump’s new controversial travel ban came into force on Monday after being ‘revised’, officials confirmed on Monday, citing some changes including removing Iraq from the list of barred nations.

The newly-revised executive order barring the entry of citizens from a number of Muslim-majority countries and halting the nation's refugee programme, remains a 'Muslim ban", a top US rights' groups said.

Earlier, an anonymous White House official said plans to roll out the order were on track for Monday.

Trump's original orders temporarily blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya from coming to the United States and put on hold the US refugee program.

The revised order is expected to remove Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a 90-day US travel ban.

It follows 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’s Foreign Ministry hailed the decision to exclude Iraq from the new travel ban, describing it as "a step in the right direction."

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry hailed the decision to exclude Iraq from the new travel ban, describing it as "a step in the right direction."

Ministry spokesman, Ahmed Jamal said "the Iraqi Foreign Ministry expresses its deep satisfaction with the executive decision of the US president, Donald Trump, which included an exception for Iraqis traveling to the United States.”

According to a draft version of the new order outlined to lawmakers late last week, citizens of the other six countries will face the 90-day suspension of visa processing as the administration continues to analyse how to enhance vetting procedures.

Other changes are also expected, including making clear that all existing visas will be honoured and no longer singling out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. Syrian refugees will now be treated like other refugees and be subjected to a 120-day suspension of the refugee programme.

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.

The administration has repeatedly pushed back the signing as it has worked to better coordinate with the agencies that it will need to implement the ban.

The new order has been in the works since shortly after a federal court blocked Trump's initial effort.

Trump administration officials have said the new order aims to overcome the legal challenges to the first but claimed its alleged goal will be the same: keep would-be terrorists out of the United States.

Trump signed his original executive order in late January, sparking confusion and anger as travellers were detained at US airports and barred from boarding flights at foreign airports.

The signing is expected to spark a new round of lawsuits and controversy.

Agencies contributed to this report.