WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Trump administration is easing restrictions on legal permanent residents who were initially affected by the President's executive order largely banning entry to the US by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
After nearly a week of claiming it wouldn't change the executive order, the administration is retreating on how the order affects so-called green card holders. The seven countries affected are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.
Airlines were briefed on some of the changes beginning on Wednesday.
Details of the eased restrictions were described by a person briefed on the changes and confirmed by a senior administration official.
US legal permanent residents who are from the seven countries will again be allowed to participate in the Global Entry program, which allows for expedited border clearance for travelers deemed to be low-risk.
The executive order had canceled participation in the program for legal residents from the seven countries.
The administration is also close to reaching an agreement with Canada to allow Canadian legal permanent residents with US visas to enter the United States.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Wednesday also described another change that would end so-called secondary screenings for legal permanent residents from the seven affected countries.
The executive order's effects on green card holders was among the most controversial aspect among the order's bipartisan critics.
Permanent residents already undergo extensive background screening to qualify for green cards, and they enjoy legal rights that the executive order summarily restricted without legal process. Those restrictions were the subject of multiple legal challenges to the executive order.
A senior administration official said the deal with Canada was still being discussed. It would require Canadian legal permanent residents traveling on passports from the seven affected countries to posses a US visa and to travel from Canadian ports of entry where the US Customs and Border Protection agency operates pre-clearance checkpoints.
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