“Our for­eign pol­icy calls for a di­rect, ro­bust and mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment with the world.”

DON­ALD TRUMP, pres­i­dent of the United States

New Straits Times - - World -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s new im­mi­gra­tion or­der will re­move Iraq from the list of coun­tries whose cit­i­zens face a tem­po­rary United States travel ban, US of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day, cit­ing the lat­est draft in cir­cu­la­tion. Trump is ex­pected to sign the ex­ec­u­tive or­der in the com­ing days.

Four of­fi­cials told The As­so­ci­ated Press that the de­ci­sion fol­lowed pres­sure from the Pen­tagon and State De­part­ment, which had urged the White House to re­con­sider Iraq’s in­clu­sion given its key role in fight­ing the Is­lamic State group.

Cit­i­zens of six other pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim coun­tries — Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men — will re­main on the travel ban list, said the of­fi­cials, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they weren’t au­tho­rised to dis­cuss the or­der be­fore it is signed. Those bans are ef­fec­tive for 90 days.

The new or­der in­cludes other changes as well. The of­fi­cials said the 12-page doc­u­ment no longer sin­gles out Syr­ian refugees for an in­def­i­nite ban and, in­stead, in­cludes them as part of a gen­eral, 120-day sus­pen­sion of new refugee ad­mis­sions.

The of­fi­cials also said the or­der won’t in­clude any ex­plicit ex­emp­tion for re­li­gious mi­nori­ties in the coun­tries tar­geted by the travel ban. Crit­ics had ac­cused the ad­min­is­tra­tion of adding such lan­guage to help Chris­tians get into the US while ex­clud­ing Mus­lims.

The White House did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Trump signed his orig­i­nal ex­ec­u­tive or­der in late Jan­uary. It sparked im­me­di­ate con­fu­sion, panic and out­rage as some trav­elLers were de­tained in US air­ports be­fore be­ing sent back over­seas and oth­ers were barred from board­ing flights at for­eign air­ports.

The gov­ern­ment ini­tially blocked US green card hold­ers be­fore of­fer­ing those le­gal res­i­dents spe­cial per­mis­sion to come into the coun­try. It fi­nally de­cided the or­der didn’t ap­ply to them.

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