Hundreds will be allowed in despite executive order; Iraq says it won’t retaliate

A senior U.S. official says 872 refugees will be allowed into the United States this week despite the Trump administration executive order suspending the U.S. refugees program.

Kevin McAleenan, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, said these refugees would be granted waivers. He said that was allowed for under the order, in instances where refugees were ready for travel and stopping them would cause “undue hardship.”

Iraq’s prime minister says a travel ban ordered by President Donald Trump is an “offense to Iraq,” but that he won’t take retaliatory measures. Trump’s executive order temporarily prevents the entry of citizens of Iraq and six other Muslim-majority countries.

The new U.S. administration says it is necessary to keep out potential terrorists until security procedures can be improved. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters today that he hopes the order will be changed. He said the U.S. should be grateful to Iraq because of its “sacrifices in fighting terrorism.”

The U.N.’s secretary-general is calling on President Donald Trump to lift his ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries “as soon as possible.” Antonio Guterres says countries have the right to avoid infiltration by terrorist organizations — but not by discriminating based on a person’s religion, ethnicity or nationality. He warned that “blind measures” that aren’t “based on solid intelligence” are generally “ineffective,” since they can be bypassed by “sophisticated global terrorist movements.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan is telling Republican lawmakers that the rollout of President Donald Trump’s order on refugees and immigration may have been a little rough, but that he agrees with the actual policy. That account comes from lawmakers who attended a closed-door meeting this morning. They say he told them that Trump’s order is similar to legislation that the House supported three years ago.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is denying reports that he was not given details of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration until around the time Trump signed it. Kelly told reporters he looked at two drafts of the order before the Friday signing and that high-level government lawyers and agency officials were involved in drafting it. He also said he knew it was coming because Trump had long talked about it as a presidential candidate. Trump’s order temporarily halted the U.S. refugee program and banned entries from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days.

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