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Trump Slightly Changes Ban On Muslim Countries

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President Donald Trump issued an executive order for a revised travel ban that lifts some restrictions from his previous -- and controversial -- travel ban.

Trump's previous executive banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, with few exceptions. Even people approved for a visa to enter the U.S. were banned.

That executive order was quickly challenged in federal court and struck down. Trump declined to challenge the decision and instead issued a new executive order that keeps many of the previous orders in tact, but with a few exceptions.

While the old executive order was more like a blanket ban on immigration from seven countries -- Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and Yemen -- Trump lifted the restriction on immigrants from Iraq.

The order also allowed people from those countries who were already granted a visa to enter the United States. In addition, it reversed a previous indefinite ban on refugees from Syria; instead, there is now a 120-day freeze that requires review and renewal.

"If you have a current valid visa to travel, we welcome you," said Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, according to The New York Times. "Unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake."

According to a statement of the new policy published on the White House website, the new protocols are to ensure the safety of Americans.

"It is the policy of the United States to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nationals," the statement read. "The screening and vetting protocols and procedures associated with the visa-issuance process and the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) play a crucial role in detecting foreign nationals who may commit, aid, or support acts of terrorism and in preventing those individuals from entering the United States."

But Democrats criticized Trump's new order.

"While this administration is packaging this as a new and improved executive order, it is the same ban that discriminates against the same people," said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat. "It was wrong the first time and it's wrong the second. In Boston, we will always stand by our immigrant community."

According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Police Department refused to hand over 15 undocumented immigrants to Immigration and Custom Enforcement custody in 2016. Police Commissioner William B. Evans said in a letter to the City Clerk: "The Department did not directly transfer any of the suspects to ICE custody."

Sources: Boston Globe, Associated Press via Boston Globe, The New York Times / Photo credit: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons

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