WASHINGTON (CBSLA.com/AP) — President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order temporarily barring the entry of people from certain Muslim-majority countries and halting the nation’s refugee program, CBS News reported Monday.
The revised order removed Iraq from the list of countries whose citizens face a temporary U.S. travel ban for 90 days.
That follows 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 group.
Iraq welcomed its removal from the ban, calling it a “positive message” at a time when American and Iraqi forces are battling the Islamic State group.
The White House had said the earlier ban was needed to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
The revised order is narrower and specifies that a 90-day ban on people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen does not apply to those who already have valid visas.
Trump administration officials have said the new order aims to overcome the legal challenges to the first. Its goal will be the same: keep would-be terrorists out of the United States while the government reviews the vetting system for refugees and visa applicants from certain parts of the world.
Trump’s original orders temporarily blocked citizens of Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya from coming to the United States and put on hold the U.S. refugee program.
Other changes are also expected, including making clear that all existing visas will be honored and no longer singling out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban. Syrian refugees will now be treated like other refugees and be subjected to a 120-day suspension of the refugee program.
The new version is also expected to remove language that would give priority for religious minorities. Critics had accused the administration of adding such language to help Christians get into the United States while excluding Muslims.
Trump signed his original executive order in late January, sparking confusion and anger as travelers were detained at U.S. airports and barred from boarding flights at foreign airports.
The signing is expected to spark a new round of lawsuits and controversy.
Niels Frenzen, a professor at the USC Gould School of Law, said the revised travel ban will certainly affect some of USC’s international students from countries such as Iran.
“What do they do next week when we have spring break?” he said. “Do they dare leave the country?”
Immigration attorney Alma Rose Nieto summarized the reaction to the travel ban in one word: “fear.”
“People who are here are fearful,” she said. “People who are abroad, who are thinking of coming, are fearful and thinking whether they should come or not.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)