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Groups Kicks As Trump Sign New Muslim Travel Ban Excluding Iraq

US President Donald Trump has signed a revised travel ban that will temporarily halt entry to the United States for people from six Muslim-majority nations.
Under the order announced on Monday, a 90-day ban on travel to the United States will be imposed on citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

Travellers holding pre-existing visas would still be allowed entry, according to the new order, which will come into effect at midnight on March 16.

Unlike the previous ban, the new directive does not include Iraq in its list of countries targeted, following 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 of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Iraq said the revised order sends a “positive message” about the future of bilateral relations as the two countries work to combat ISIL.

Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said the decision to revise the ban shows that there is a “real partnership” between Washington and Baghdad.

Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Washington, DC, said: “[US officials] have tried to take what was the existing executive order, make it much tighter, and essentially make it bullet proof in the courts.”

‘Vital for security’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared at a press conference that the renewed ban is “a vital measure for strengthening our national security”.

“With this order, president Trump is exercising his rightful authority to keep our people safe,” Tillerson said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions added that the order “responsibly provides a needed pause so we can carefully review how we scrutinise people coming here from these countries of concern”.

Former FBI agent: Muslim ban ‘not about security’ – UpFront

“Three of these nations are state sponsors of terrorism,” Sessions said, referring to Iran, Sudan and Syria, adding that others had served as “safe havens” for fighters.

Trump’s first order, signed on January 27, led to chaos at airports, protests and international condemnation.

 

Donald Trump

That order was ultimately blocked by the courts.

Many said the order had partially fulfilled his campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the US.

“There’s going to be a very orderly process,” a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security. “You should not see any chaos so to speak, or alleged chaos at airports. There aren’t going to be folks stopped tonight from coming into the country because of this executive order.”

Rights groups have criticised the new order.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the new ban was a “scaled-back version that shares the same fatal flaws”.

In a statement, the organisation said: “The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban. Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people.”

Obama speaks out against Trump’s Muslim ban

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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