Published: Mon, February 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Travel ban: Donald Trump's 'streamlined' ban to exempt green card holders

Kelly said Saturday that the Trump administration is considering a new version of the executive order banning travel of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations that would allow travelers who were already on airplanes bound for the United States into the country but would bar those who had not yet boarded.

"I would say the president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version", he said.

"We will have this time the opportunity. of input on the rollout plan, in particular that no one's caught in the system coming overseas to our airports", Kelly said.

Asked if green-card residency permit holders would be allowed in, Mr Kelly said: "If they're in motion from some distant land to the United States, when they arrive they will be allowed in".

Among the security challenges, Kelly said, was that the US does not have "strong counter-terrorism partnerships" with the countries in question or "robust information on individuals traveling from these countries" to be able to make a good risk assessments before their citizens traveled to the United States.

The first order temporarily barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States for 90 days, as well as all refugees for 120 days - except those from Syria, who were banned indefinitely.

There is one existing law protecting immigrants passed under the Obama administration that is not affected by the dramatic new changes: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which gives legal work permits to more than 750,000 people who came to the US illegally as children.

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A tougher approach to asylum seekers would be an element of President Donald Trump's promise to crack down on immigration and tighten border security, a cornerstone of his election campaign and a top priority of his first month in office. He said the new order was expected next week.

The affidavit was filed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn in a case challenging Trump's ban. Nevertheless, those holding visas already flying will not be denied entry.

The abrupt implementation of the ban, which was enforced just hours after it was signed, caught many officials and travelers unaware, leading to chaos and protests at worldwide airports in the USA and overseas.

Nevertheless, these hirings would greatly expand ICE, and the memos would allow for Customs and Border Protection to "begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall" - seemingly fulfilling many of Trump's campaign promises, especially those within his August 31, 2016, address on immigration.

"In so doing, the president will clear the way for immediately protecting the country rather than pursuing further potentially time-consuming litigation", the Justice Department said in its filing.

If approved, the memos would order officials to end the release of people captured at the borders while they await hearings, and direct officials to hire additional ICE and Border Patrol agents, as well as send more immigration judges and asylum officers to the border. Trump's order specified that refugees who were members of a religious minority in their country and facing persecution would still be eligible for admission to the U.S. This would apply to non-Muslims from the seven targeted countries.

Some material in this report came from Reuters.

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