US President Donald Trump is already facing opposition from human rights groups and activists over the new travel ban against six countries. In the January order, a travel ban was imposed on seven countries, but Iraq has been spared on the executive order that came on Monday.
The administration has also temporarily suspended the US refugee resettlement program for 120 days, which according to them will be enough time to formulate stricter norms for entry. In opposition to these norms, human rights groups are already planning protests. One of the groups staged a protest outside the White House on Monday night.
"This replacement order is the same hate and fear with new packaging," Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement. "No amount of editing can make this executive order anything but what it is -- blatant bigotry."
The current ban will come into effect on March 16. The new order seems to be more well thought out than the previous one as it exempts those with current visas, does not prioritise minorities in refugee admissions and Syrian refugees are not indefinitely banned. Instead, they face a 120-day halt. Other countries facing the ban are Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The new ban also doesn't effect green-card holders.
"We cannot compromise our nation's security by allowing visitors entry when their own governments are unable or unwilling to provide the information we need to vet them responsibly, or when those governments actively support terrorism," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Monday.
"(The order is) not any way targeted as a Muslim ban," an official told reporters. "We want to make sure everyone understands that," they said, in anticipation of contests to the ban as unconstitutional.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union said that any move blocking travel from a Muslim-majority country represents a "Muslim ban."
"The only way to actually fix the Muslim ban is not to have a Muslim ban," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project. "Instead, President Trump has recommitted himself to religious discrimination, and he can expect continued disapproval from both the courts and the people."
The stopgap measures taken may not be enough to thwart litigations against it, experts said.