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Iraq taken off US travel ban list


USA

Iraq taken off US travel ban list

 

President Donald Trump will reportedly remove Iraq from a list of countries targeted in a US travel ban.

Trump is expected to sign a new executive order on Monday. His controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts.

A senior White House official has told the Reuters news agency the executive order will keep a 90-day ban on travel to the US by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations: Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and
Yemen.



Why has Iraq been taken off the list?


Iraq has reportedly been taken off the list of countries in the original order, issued on January 27, because the Iraqi government had imposed new vetting procedures and has worked with the US in countering ISIL militants.



Would many Iraqis have been affected by the ban?


Campaigners say yes.

Thousands of Iraqis have fought alongside US troops for years. Many have resettled in the US after working as translators in the wake of the US invasion in 2003.

Officials say the new executive order will ensure that tens of thousands of legal permanent residents in the US – or green card holders – from the listed countries will not now be affected by the travel ban.


Legal challenges


The confusion caused by the initial travel ban led to a weekend of chaos, legal wrangling and protests in cities and at major airports across the US.

More than two dozen lawsuits were filed in the US courts against it

The state of Washington succeeded in getting it suspended by arguing it had violated constitutional protections against religious discrimination.

President Trump publicly criticised judges who ruled against him. He vowed to fight the case in the Supreme Court but then decided to draw up a new order with changes aimed at making it easier to defend in the courts.



The new executive order


The new directive will have an as-yet undefined implementation delay to limit the disruptions that created havoc for some travellers, officials say.

The first order imposed restrictions immediately.

Refugees who are “in transit” and have already been approved would be able to travel to the US.

It also barred travellers from the seven listed nations from entering the US for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

Refugees from Syria were to be banned indefinitely but, under the new order, they will not be subject o separate treatment.


Based on security considerations, not religion


Officials say the new order is based on national security considerations and has nothing to do with religion.

“It is substantially different from the fist order, yet it will do the same thing in this important way: it will protect the country and keep us safe,” a White House official said.

US government agencies will determine whether Syria or other nations have made sufficient security improvements to be taken back into the refugee admissions programme.

The White House was widely criticised for not working with the State Department, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and allies in Congress in drawing up the initial ban.

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