Donald Trump has removed Iraq from the list of countries affected by his new travel ban

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Donald Trump Delivers Address To Joint Session Of Congress
Trump is set to remove Iraq from new travel ban (Source: Getty)

Donald Trump has removed Iraq from the list of countries barred from entering the US in a new executive order.

The US President signed a new order today in private after his original ban on travellers from certain countries caused mass confusion and protest and was eventually blocked in courts.

The new order also clears up uncertainty around green card and visa holders by ensuring tens of thousands of legal permanent residents in the US from the listed countries will not be affected.

Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters the order will be phased in over the next two weeks and will take effect 16 March.

Iraq was removed from the new travel ban because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening, and it has worked with the US in countering Islamic State militants, a senior White House official told Reuters.

The 90-day ban on travel to the US will still apply to citizens of six nations - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Meanwhile, a 120-day ban will apply to all refugees, including Syrians who were previously banned indefinitely.

After more than two dozen lawsuits were filed across the US, a judge in Washington successfully suspended Trump's highly contentious travel ban, saying it violated constitutional protections against religious discrimination.

The new measures are designed to make the order easier to defend in courts.

Figures released today showed travel to the US has slumped since Trump signed this executive order - in the eight days following the ban in January, international travel to the US dropped by 6.5 per cent.

Bookings to the US regained some ground after US courts blocked the ban - but they immediately dropped again in the days following Trump's announcement of a new ban last month.

Trump made the surprise announcement that he would revamp his travel ban in February while speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One.

Read more: It's true: Trump is lowering US travel bookings

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