President Donald Trump’s replacement executive order on immigration will scrap a preference for religious minorities intended to benefit persecuted Christians, according to a leaked memo about the current version.
Trump’s initial order instructed immigration officials to give priority to religious minorities when considering which refugees to accept, which would result in preference to Christian refugees from Muslim-majority countries. The provision was designed to give a leg up to the refugees Trump has said were effectively barred from admission by the Obama administration, but a Department of Homeland Security memo reviewed by the Wall Street Journal indicates it will be scrapped in the new order.
The provision became a key point of contention for critics of the ban, who argue it amounts to religious discrimination. Rather than defend against that legal argument, the administration is dropping the provision, according to the DHS memo discussing the current draft. A DHS official also told TheWSJ the replacement order will probably scrap the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees as well, although two White House officials disputed that account.
“If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible,” Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network ahead of the first order. “I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.” (Let’s Be Real: Obama ‘Barred’ Syrian Christian Refugees. Just Look At The Numbers)
The replacement order is expected as soon as Tuesday. A senior administration official told WSJ the new order isn’t yet complete, as the draft is “still being worked on.”
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