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Immigration White House

White House seems to back down on part of new vetting policy

The White House on Sunday appeared to back down on a key part of President Trump’s tough new immigration order, signaling that travelers trying to enter the country from seven banned countries will be allowed in if they hold green cards.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said that these legal permanent residents are exempt from the travel ban “moving forward,” even though over the weekend other administration officials said the rule did apply to them.

The apparent reversal came amid a national controversy over the new Trump order that temporarily halts the entry of all refugees to the U.S. and any traveler from seven majority Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Federal judges across the country have blocked parts of the president’s executive actions since they came down on Friday, mostly preventing the deportation of some travelers who ran into the first wave of implementation over the weekend.

The back-and-forth over the green-card holders reflected a generalized confusion about the new order, which also bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely. Lawyers for some of the affected immigrants said border agents seemed uncertain about the new rules and were disagreeing with one another about which travelers were affected and which were not.

Further complicating the picture was a statement from the Department of Homeland Security asserting that its agents would enforce all of Trump’s orders while also complying with judicial orders. As some of the orders block deportation, that left individual officers to try to figure out which priorities to honor.

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