Iraq exempted from Donald Trump's new travel ban

Iraq exempted from Donald Trump's new travel ban as order is imposed once again

Donald Trump signed a new executive order on US immigration

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Donald Trump's new executive order on immigration has excluded Iraq - but kept the six other Muslim-majority countries affected by his original travel ban.

The new order, which follows intense lobbying by the Iraqi government, is designed to replace the legislation imposed in January, which caused chaos at US borders and led to nationwide protests before it was suspended in the courts.

It no longer indefinitely bans Syrian refugees, and will no longer grant priority asylum status to refugees who are religious minorities, notably Christians. Both provisions were contained in January's order and received heavy criticism. 

Under the new order, citizens of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will be barred from obtaining visas for at least 90 days. It will also suspend the refugee flow into the US until authorities improve vetting measures, even though many commentators already see these measures as airtight.

However legal, permanent US residents from the affected countries will be exempted from the ban. 

The Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, later said the decision to remove Iraq from the ban list will enable the US government to work together with Iraqi authorities on the vetting process.

The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, also defended the new order, saying it "protects Americans."

It will take effect from March 16.