Monday, March 6 2017 20:32 EET
Trump Signs Revised Travel Order
Trump, Signs,  Revised, Travel, Order

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a revised executive order that temporarily bars entry into the United States of citizens from six Muslim-majority countries after his original order was blocked by U.S. federal judges.

The White House confirmed that Trump signed the order on March 6 -- freezing new visas for citizens of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days.

Individuals from those six countries with pre-existing, valid visas would still have their visas honored.

The revised order, which takes effect on March 16, also suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days.

Trump's first executive order on foreign travelers, issued on January 27, temporarily barred citizens of those same six countries -- as well as Iraq -- from entering the United States for a 90-day period.

The revised order, however, does not bar new visas for citizens of Iraq.

It also does not include permanent U.S. residents from the six listed countries

Trump insists that the travel order is necessary to ensure the nation’s security, while critics have accused him of religious-based discrimination -- a charge the White House rejects.

Senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway on March 6 said the executive order was part of "a very important week in this White House where the president is going to continue to act on, along with the Congress, major pieces of his legislative and executive agenda."

Conway said the revised executive order on travel makes it "much more clear now" that the temporary entry ban excludes "legal permanent residents" of the United States.

Iraq welcomed its removal from the revised U.S. travel order, calling it a "positive message" at a time when U.S. and Iraqi forces are battling so-called Islamic State (IS) militants.

The Associated Press and Reuters report that the White House removed Iraq from the list under pressure from the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon, which had noted the close cooperation between the two countries in battling IS militants in Iraq's northern city of Mosul.

Iraqi government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said on March 6 the revision shows that Iraq and the United States have a "real partnership."

Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said the revised executive order "reinforces the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many areas at the forefront in the fight against terrorism."

The original order angered many Iraqis, and prompted Iraq's parliament to call for a reciprocal ban on U.S. citizens entering Iraq.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi refused to impose such measures.

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