President Donald Trump signed a revised executive order for a U.S. travel ban on Monday, leaving Iraq off the list of targeted countries, after his controversial first attempt was blocked in the courts, senior administration officials said. The new order, which the White House said Trump had signed, will keep a 90-day ban on travel to the United States by citizens of six Muslim-majority nations – Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, the officials said. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said earlier on Monday that the new order would take effect on March 16. The new directive delays implementation to limit the disruption that created havoc for some travelers when Trump issued his original order.
Trump had said the restrictive order is necessary to ensure domestic security. His secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, told reporters on Monday, “As threats to our security continue to evolve and change, common sense dictates that we continually re-evaluate and reassess the systems we rely upon to protect our country.” Iraq was taken off the list in the original order, which was issued on Jan. 27, because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants, a senior White House official said.
“There’s going to be a very orderly process,” a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said. “You should not see any chaos so to speak, or alleged chaos at airports. There aren’t going to be folks stopped tonight from coming into the country because of this executive order.” Thousands of Iraqis have fought alongside U.S. troops for years or worked as translators since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Many have resettled in the United States after being threatened for working with U.S. troops.