Revised US travel ban to spare certain green-card holders

Those already en route to the country will be let in, says official

MUNICH • A new version of a Trump administration travel ban will not stop green-card residency holders or travellers already on planes from entering the United States, US Secretary for Homeland Security John Kelly said.

President Donald Trump's initial attempts to clamp down on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees, citing security reasons, have ground to a halt amid a judicial backlash and chaos at airports.

"The President is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version of the first (order). And I will have (the) opportunity to work (on) a roll-out plan, in particular to make sure that there's no one in a sense caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports," Mr Kelly said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Asked if green-card residency permit holders would be allowed in, Mr Kelly said: "If they're in motion from some distant land to the United States, when they arrive they will be allowed in." He promised "a short phase-in period to make sure that people on the other end don't get on airplanes".

A draft of the replacement executive order shows that the administration aims to put restrictions on citizens of the same seven Muslim-majority countries covered by the initial order, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cites an internal State Department memo.

PROVISION

If they're in motion from some distant land to the United States, when they arrive they will be allowed in.

MR JOHN KELLY, United States Secretary for Homeland Security.

The replacement order could be issued as early as tomorrow, the Journal reported, citing a US government official. The administration would seek to implement the new order a week to two weeks after it is signed, and covers citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, the Journal said.

Mr Trump's original order, which he said was meant to head off attacks by Islamist militants, barred people from those same countries from entering for 90 days and excluded all refugees for 120 days, except those from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.

The abrupt implementation of the order last month plunged the immigration system into chaos, sparking a wave of criticism from the countries affected, Western allies and some of America's leading corporations.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2017, with the headline 'Revised US travel ban to spare certain green-card holders'. Print Edition | Subscribe