New Trump immigration order won't have blanket ban on Iraq, sources say

The original order was temporarily halted in early February.

March 01, 2017, 9:50 PM

— -- President Donald Trump’s new executive order on travel and immigration won’t include a blanket ban on citizens from Iraq, White House officials tell ABC News.

The newly revised order, made to replace a prior order that limited travel and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa, was expected Wednesday after a federal court judge temporarily halted the original order in early February.

However, Wednesday came and passed without the order's signing, a delay that ABC News has learned was due in part to concerns expressed by members of Trump's own Cabinet.

Sources familiar with the decision-making process told ABC News that officials within the State Department expressed direct concerns to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that keeping Iraq on the travel ban list could hinder the U.S. fight against ISIS.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis voiced similar concerns directly to the White House. After the first order was released, he told the White House he wanted exemptions to be made for Iraqis who served alongside U.S. personnel in Iraq. Then during the drafting of the new order he suggested Iraq be removed altogether.

In addition, Homeland Security John Kelly also told the White House he had concerns about keeping Iraq on the list, according to a source familiar with the process.

These officials familiar with the new draft order also tell ABC News the measures may not take effect immediately as the first one did -- a situation that caused disorder at multiple airports as law enforcement officials detained travelers who were impacted. Instead, the new order could delay implementation for up to two weeks from the days it’s issued.

Furthermore, the order will only apply to future visa applicants, according to these officials. All current U.S. visa holders -- even those from the banned countries -- will be allowed to travel to the country. Under the previous order, even those with valid U.S. visas could not reenter the country if they came from one of the seven banned countries.

As for when the new order is ultimately expected, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that the president hasn't yet made a decision. "When the president is ready to make a decision he lets us know and we let you know," Spicer said.

Multiple officials with knowledge of the situation said that it is likely to come next week.

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