President Donald Trump signed a new executive order Monday that bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries, dropping Iraq from January’s previous order, and reinstates a temporary blanket ban on all refugees.
The new travel ban comes six weeks after Trump’s original executive order caused chaos at airports nationwide before it was blocked by federal courts. It removes out language in the original order that indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and called for prioritizing the admission of refugees who are religious minorities in their home countries. That provision drew criticism of a religious test for entry and would have prioritized Christians over Muslims fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East.
The new ban, which takes effect March 16, also explicitly exempts citizens of the six banned countries who are legal US permanent residents or have valid visas to enter the US — including those whose visas were revoked during the original implementation of the ban, senior administration officials said.
The new measures will block citizens of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from obtaining visas for at least 90 days. The order also suspends admission of refugees into the US for 120 days, directing US officials to improve vetting measures for a program that is already widely regarded as extremely stringent.
Trump signed the executive order earlier Monday in the Oval Office outside the view of reporters and news cameras, after more than three weeks of repeated delays, the latest of which came after White House officials decided last week to delay the signing to avoid cutting into positive coverage of Trump’s joint address to Congress.