WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday it has issued updated guidance on President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration clarifying that legal permanent residents, or green card holders, do not require a waiver to enter the United States.
"They no longer need a waiver because if they are a legal permanent resident they won't need it anymore," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said at a news briefing.
The restriction on green card holders was among the most confusing element in the executive order signed on Friday.
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Initially, administration officials said such permanent legal residents were barred from entry under the executive order, although they could apply for a waiver and be rescreened.
After the ensuing outcry -- including legal challenges -- over legal residents being detained, the Homeland Security Department said on Sunday green card holders would be allowed on planes to the United States and would be assessed upon arrival. "We expect swift entry for these individuals," DHS said.
Spicer said the White House counsel issued an update on Wednesday to clarify that those legal permanent residents no longer need a waiver.
"Initially, as the program was lifting off, the idea was that they would go through be granted a waiver, of which everyone was," Spicer told the news briefing. "In the sake of efficiency, we have interpreted the guidance to all of these agencies ... that that does not apply, they no longer need a waiver."
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Alexander and Sandra Maler)