US President, Donald Trump will remove Iraq from the list of countries targeted in the travel ban list when he signs a new executive order today, a White House source has said.
But the executive order is expected to maintain a 90-day ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Iraq has been removed from the list, originally issued on January 27, because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures and heightened visa screening, according to the official.
It also has been credited for its work with the United States in combating ISIS – many Iraqis also settled in the United States after helping in the invasion of 2003.
The new executive order also ensures that the tens of thousands of green card holders from the listed countries would not be affected by the ban.
Unlike the first order the second executive ban would not be implemented immediately to try and avoid the disruption caused for some travellers.
Refugees who are ‘in transit’ and have already been approved would be able to travel to the United States.
There is also no indefinite suspension for Syrian refugees who will now face a 120 day suspension handed to all refugees, the official said.
When he passed the original order, teh Republican said it was necessary to head off attacks by Islamist militants, however, the White House said the new order was based on national security considerations and had nothing to do with religion.
The official told Reuters: ‘It is substantially different from the first order yet it will do the same thing in this important way: It will protect the country and keep us safe.’
They added U.S. government agencies would determine whether Syria or other nations had made sufficient security improvements to be taken back into the refugee admissions program.
The new order launches a 90-day period for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to define a new series of requirements for countries to have full participation in U.S. entry programs.
For countries that do not comply, the U.S. State Department, the DHS and intelligence agencies can make recommendations on what, if any, restrictions should be imposed.
Unlike the blanket ban of the first order, the new ban gives detailed categories of people eligible to enter the United States.