By: Krystal Mohan
U.S. President Donald Trump removed Iraq from the seven countries listed in a temporary travel ban issued in January. The new executive order will replace the previous one which stirred immense controversy and was blocked by courts. The new order will keep a 90-day travel ban on citizens entering the United States from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; all being Muslim-majority nations.
Iraq has been removed after the state urged the White House to reconsider due to the country’s stricter procedures. Iraq has been sharing data with the U.S. administration and is battling ISIS with the backing of the U.S. military.
“For me [the ban] is a very, very unacceptable act,” said Hassan Elbaytam, President of the Muslim Student Association of Humber. “They were already being vetted enough to get their background information for getting a visa. So, after all that vetting…this is a good bother on international law.”
According to a statement by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, the country expressed “deep relief” at the decision to remove Iraq from the list of targeted nations.
“The decision is an important step in the right direction, it consolidates the strategic alliance between Baghdad and Washington in many fields, and at their forefront war on terrorism,” the statement said.
The Trump administration said the new executive order plans to overcome any legal challenges brought on by the first one. That being said, the revised executive order will also protect thousands of legal permanent residents holding visas in the United States.
The revised ban will halt all refugee admissions for 120 days, unlike the previous which indefinitely bans all Syrian refugees.
“The thing is, I don’t know anyone that carries a passport from those countries, but if it affects anyone today or tomorrow…that’s always a sad thing to see just because of a religious background,” said Elbaytam.
The executive order will take effect on March 16.