Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Trump Eases Travel Ban | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55368807

US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, on March 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMMNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Washington – The White House uncovered on Monday a new revised travel ban preventing nationals from six Muslim-majority nations to enter the US, but exempts Iraqis and permanent US residents.

US President Donald Trump signed a second executive order suspending refugee admissions for 90 days and halting new visas for travelers from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.

However, the new order removes Iraq from a list issued on Jan. 27 to temporarily ban entry to the US for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Trump’s first list was under pressure from the State Department and the Defense Department for including Iraq because of the close cooperation between Washington and Baghdad in battling ISIS.

Iraq welcomed on Monday the decision of the US president. Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal described the order as an “important step” in the right direction.

The new order comes into effect on March 16, allowing 10 days for concerned apparatuses to understand the formalities needed before applying the new decision and to prevent chaos and legal disputes that affected several US airports following Trump’s first executive order.

Despite support shown by the Defense, State, National Security and Justice Departments at Trump’s administration, US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the new revised decision would face the same challenges. “A watered-down ban is still a ban,” he said, adding that he believes it makes the US less safe.

During a joint news conference with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly held at the US Customs and Borders Protection headquarters to announce the reconstituted travel ban, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Monday: “This revised order will bolster the security of the United States and her allies.”

For his part, Sessions said: “People seeking to support or commit terrorist attacks here will try to enter through our refugee program.”

He revealed: “Today more than 300 people who came here as refugees are under FBI investigation for potential terrorism-related activities.”