President Trump signed a revised executive order on refugees Monday after his first one was halted by the court system.
One key change was that Iraq was taken off the list of countries from which all travel is temporarily banned. Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen remain on the list.
Taking Iraq off the list sidesteps a diplomatic spat that could undermine the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Including Iraq in the original order caused interpreters who worked with U.S. troops to be caught in the ban, despite the military promising them safety in return for their help.
It also led Iraq’s parliament to vote for a reciprocal ban on U.S. citizens traveling to Iraq, though Iraq’s prime minister did not enforce the vote.
The Hill’s Katie Bo Williams and Jordan Fabian have more on the new order. And The Hill’s Melanie Zanona breaks down what’s different from the first order.
Iraq reacted positively to the new order. Read more about Iraq’s reaction here.
DEMS REMAIN OPPOSED: Democrats were as opposed to Trump’s new order as they were to the original, calling it a “Muslim ban 2.0” that remains unnecessary and racist.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez said the new temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations shows Trump’s “obsession with religious discrimination.”
“This second Muslim ban is just as unconstitutional as the last one and it isn’t making us any safer,” Perez said in a statement Monday.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted that it will run into the same legal problems as Trump’s original measure.
“Despite their best efforts, I fully expect this executive order to have the same uphill climb in the courts that the previous version had,” Schumer said in a statement.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the order “racist” and divisive.
“Let’s call it what it is. This ban is a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to divide us up,” Sanders said in a statement.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) pledged to introduce a bill that would block implementation of the travel order, along the lines of the bill he introduced after the original order.
“Our enemies’ dream is to paint a picture of global war between Islam and the West, and today’s travel ban plays right into their hands. I will immediately revise and re-introduce my bill to block its implementation,” Murphy said in a statement.
GRAHAM BACKS ORDER: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a frequent Trump critic, though said Monday he believes the new order will withstand legal scrutiny.
When the original order was signed, Graham said in a joint statement with ally Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that it was “not properly vetted” and “will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.”
But on Monday, Graham said he thinks the new order will achieve its goal of protecting the United States.
“I have always shared President Trump’s desire to protect our homeland,” Graham said in a statement.
“This Executive Order will achieve the goal of protecting our homeland and will, in my view, pass legal muster.”
FORMER GITMO DETAINEE KILLED IN YEMEN STRIKE: A former Guantanamo Bay detainee was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen last week, the Pentagon said Monday.
Yasir al-Silmi, who was held at Guantanamo from 2002 to 2009, was killed in a strike Thursday, according to the Pentagon.
The Pentagon has bombarded al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), with airstrikes over the last five days. As of Monday, U.S. forces have carried out more than 40 airstrikes against the group, considered the most dangerous of al Qaeda’s branches.
Al-Salmi, a native Yemeni, was repatriated by former President Obama on Dec. 17, 2009. Transfers to Yemen have since been banned by U.S. law because of the turmoil in the country.
By: Rebecca Kheel