UPDATE — 3/6, 11:41 a.m. EST: President Trump has signed a revamped executive order temporarily banning citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S., excluding green card holders.
The new DHS directive covers Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia, notably excluding Iraq, due to cooperation with American authorities that includes “enhanced screening and reporting measures,” according to White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway.
White House aides, key Cabinet members and officials at the Pentagon have successfully persuaded President Trump to remove Iraq from the revised travel moratorium executive order expected to be issued next week.
According to White House staff familiar with the revised guidance, six other countries will remain on the moratorium.
Similarly, the new order is expected to place Syrian refugees among a grouping of travelers to the U.S. temporarily prohibited for up to 120 days. Previously, Syrian refugee seekers were banned indefinitely.
It is believed Mr. Trump reconsidered his position over Iraq in view of the fact Iraq is considered a partner in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Iraq was originally placed alongside Syria, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen in a Jan. 27 executive order, which temporarily prohibited travel to the U.S. by citizens from the seven Muslim-majority countries for 60 days and prohibited Syrian refugee seekers for a period of 120 days.
White House officials and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly have confirmed the new travel moratorium will also exempt green card holders.
Assailed by critics and challenged in court, the moratorium was blocked by a federal judge in early February. Following the 9th Circuit of Appeals upholding an earlier court decision halting the White House action, Trump blasted the courts and vowed to produce a new, revised order.
[AP] [New York Post] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Pete Marovich/Getty Images via The Observer]