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For next version of refugee ban, waiting is hardest part, say advocates


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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- With barely a month passed since President Donald Trump's executive order restricting refugee immigration into the United States was issued -- only to see it held up in the courts -- Catholic immigration advocates are on tenterhooks waiting for a revised executive order, the issuance of which has been long promised but slow in coming.

The questions that can't be answered until it is issued include how extensive it will be, how restrictive it will be, and whether it can be challenged as successfully in the courts as the first one has been -- not to mention the human dimensions and costs of a new order.

Bill O'Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy for Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, told Catholic News Service that he had seen communications from "senior White House officials" that would retain the 90-day ban -- variously described as a travel ban, an entry ban, a refugee ban and a Muslim ban -- for the seven countries listed in Trump's Jan. 27 executive order: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. One report March 1 indicated Iraq would be removed from the list.

However, the indefinite ban on Syrians in the original order would be lifted, although immigration from the seven countries would be suspended. Religious preferences found in the original order would be erased, and green-card holders would be exempt from the ban.

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