NEW YORK — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday that allows citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries to apply for tourist visas.
The order gives green cards to some citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, and to U.S. citizens living abroad, who are not citizens of those countries.
The move comes as Trump continues to push his hard-line immigration policies and as his administration seeks to curb travel from the seven countries.
Trump’s executive order also allows Americans to apply to enter the U.K., Canada, Australia and Israel.
“This is just a great opportunity for American citizens, especially those who are from these countries, to get the visas that are available,” Trump said in signing the order.
The executive order does not change the existing visa-issuance process, which is already a complicated and costly process.
Critics of the travel ban say the new order is unnecessary and could result in the deaths of American citizens.
Last week, a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the ban on visas from several countries.
In an interview with the New York Times, a senior administration official told reporters Friday that the president believes the new executive order will help prevent “a tragedy like this one in the future.”
Trump signed the executive order in the Rose Garden with Vice President Mike Pence, his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Trump’s travel ban, first implemented in January, barred citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen from entering the U,S.
for 90 days.
He signed another executive order Thursday that blocks nationals of Libya, Yemen and Somalia from entering for 90 months.
Trump’s order also suspends the issuance of visas to citizens of Afghanistan, Syria and Somalia.
The administration is considering revoking the visas of citizens of Somalia, which Trump said would be a “big mistake.”