WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday signed a revised version of his executive order banning migrants from predominantly Muslim nations, removing Iraqi citizens from the original travel ban at the urging of the State and Defense departments.
The order, which comes about a month after federal judges blocked Mr. Trump’s haphazardly implemented ban in January on residents from seven Middle Eastern and African countries, was delayed for about a week as the White House sought to better coordinate its activities with federal agencies.
It was also pushed back to maximize its public relations impact, according to three administration officials.
The timing of the ban is intended to reset the White House political narrative, after a tumultuous week that began with a well-received address to a joint session of Congress. That was overshadowed quickly by the controversies over the failure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to inform the Senate of his contacts with a Russian diplomat and of Mr. Trump’s unsupported accusation that President Barack Obama tried to wiretap his phones during the 2016 campaign.
Mr. Trump’s pledges to crack down on illegal immigration and prevent terrorist attacks in the United States were cornerstones of his appeal to white working-class voters.
“The vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country,” the president said last Tuesday, during the address to Congress. In it, he reiterated his promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico and to “win” wars against the Islamic State and “radical Islamic terrorism” — a phrase President Obama avoided using in his public statements.
Critics argue that Mr. Trump’s vow to impose “extreme vetting” on immigrants, especially those from war-torn Syria, disregards a stringent screening protocol already in place, and the fact that none of the terrorist attacks or mass shootings on American soil in recent years were perpetrated by attackers from the six nations listed in the ban. The six nations are Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Last week, The Associated Press obtained a draft version of a Department of Homeland Security assessment concluding that citizenship was an “unlikely indicator” of a threat.