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US: Trump backpedals on part of Muslim refugee ban policy

30th Jan 2017
US:  Trump backpedals on part of Muslim refugee ban policy

NEW YORK (AA): Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that green card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries banned under President Donald Trump’s executive order would be allowed to return to the U.S.

“In applying the provisions of the president’s executive order, I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest,” Kelly said in a statement. “Accordingly, absent the receipt of significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare, lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”

Despite the statement, many who arrived in the U.S. after the executive action was enforced Friday night are still detained at airports, where protests continue to attract thousands across the country.

Earlier Sunday, Trump defended his executive action, insisting it is “not a Muslim ban”.

“This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order,” Trump said in a statement.

“We will again be issuing visas to all countries once we are sure we have reviewed and implemented the most secure policies over the next 90 days.”

Trump said he identified the Muslim-majority nations for the ban from a government report on terror-prone states prepared during the Barack Obama administration.

Meanwhile, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, said Sunday the action may extend to countries outside the current list.

Muhabir Canberk Yüksel

[Photo: Thousands of people gather at the White House to protest President Donald Trumps ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries entering the United States in Washington, USA on January 29, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Samuel Corum/AA]

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