Trump eases up on travel ban with new executive order

The new directive includes significant concessions after the courts halted Trump’s first controversial order.

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The new order will put a 90-day hold on issuance of visas to citizens of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also stops refugee admissions worldwide for 120 days. | AP Photo

President Donald Trump on Monday re-issued his travel ban executive order with significant concessions from his prior directive: exempting existing visa holders from travel limits and removing Iraq from the original list of seven Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were barred from entering the U.S.

The changes are designed to help the new order avoid the fate of Trump’s first directive, which was effectively halted by a series of court rulings. Both directives were billed as new safeguards to prevent potential terrorists from entering the U.S.

The new order will put a 90-day hold on issuance of visas to citizens of six countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also stops refugee admissions worldwide for 120 days.

The revised directive also removes language that appeared to give priority to Christian refugees applying from predominantly Muslim countries. That passage was part of what courts seized on to conclude that Trump’s original order was a thinly-veiled version of the “Muslim ban” Trump repeatedly discussed on the campaign trail.

“This is not a Muslim ban in any way, shape or form,” a senior Homeland Security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The White House confirmed that Trump signed the order on Monday morning. He did so in private, unlike the prior executive order which was signed with cameras present and great fanfare.

Trump’s fresh order also provides a new assertion aimed to satisfy another concern put forward by judges: that the administration presented no evidence of the threat the original travel ban was supposed to address.

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