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Trump issues revised immigration order

dpa logodpa 6/03/2017 Frank Fuhrig

Donald Trump has signed a revised executive order halting new visas for people from six majority-Muslim countries after a court blocked his previous directive.

US President Donald Trump has signed a revised executive order halting new visas for people from six majority-Muslim countries and suspending refugee admissions for 120 days.

The new order takes effect on March 16, replacing a January 27 order, which stranded travellers at airports around the world and set off a wave of protests before being blocked last month by a federal court.

Trump's new action bans tourist, immigration and most other entries to the United States from six countries for 90 days: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Iraq was on the previous 90-day ban order but is now removed from the list due to enhanced cooperation with the government in Baghdad, the White House said.

The order suspends the US refugee program for 120 days, potentially affecting Australia's refugee deal with the US. An indefinite halt in refugees from Syria is no longer included in the new order.

The executive order cites presidential powers under the Immigration and Nationality Act and says the measures are needed "to protect the nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States."

The first order will be revoked as of March 16.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly described the order as "prospective ... applying only to foreign nationals outside of the United States who do not have a valid visa."

"Nothing in this executive order affects current lawful permanent residents or persons with current authorisation to enter our country," he said. "If you have a current valid visa to travel, we welcome you. But unregulated, unvetted travel is not a universal privilege, especially when national security is at stake."

Chuck Schumer, leader of opposition Democrats in the US Senate, said the measures would have "the same uphill climb in the courts" as Trump's January 27 executive order.

"A watered down ban is still a ban," Schumer said. "Despite the administration's changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more. It is mean-spirited and un-American."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that some 300 refugees in the United States are under federal scrutiny as possible terrorism suspects.

Federal authorities "know that people seeking to support or commit terrorist attacks here will try to enter through our refugee program," he said. "In fact, today more than 300 people who came here as refugees are under FBI investigation for potential terrorism-related activities."

Trump's revised executive order "protects the American people" by implementing an "enhanced screening and vetting process," Sessions said.

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