President Donald Trump’s new immigration order will remove Iraq from a list of Muslim majority countries whose citizens face a temporary US travel ban.
Trump is expected to sign the new order as an earlier order, dubbed a “Muslim ban”, was blocked by federal courts.
Four officials told the Associated Press that the decision followed pressure from the Pentagon and State Department, which had urged the White House to reconsider Iraq’s inclusion given its key role in fighting the Daesh group.
Trump is expected to sign the executive order in the coming days. However citizens of the six other predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — will remain on the travel ban list, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the order before it is signed.
The new order includes other changes as well. The officials said the 12-page document no longer singles out Syrian refugees for an indefinite ban and instead includes them as part of a general, 120-day suspension of new refugee admissions.
The officials also said the order will exclude explicit exemption for religious minorities in the countries targeted by the travel ban.
Trumps administration was accused of religious discrimination because it was said to target Muslims while exempting Christians and other religious minorities that wanted to enter the US.