Biggest Ban Yet: Eight Countries Named In New Order Restricting Travel

Cheryl Sanders
September 25, 2017

Since president Trump announced the ban early in his term, its legality has been challenged by federal courts.

That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lacked a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" from entering the U.S. Only one of those countries, Sudan, will no longer be subject to travel restrictions.

The recommendations are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travelers' terror-related and criminal histories.

The original version, signed as an executive order in January, blocked citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries - Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria - as well as all refugees across the globe.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans now traveling to the United States was very low.

The restrictions on travel to the USA from Venezuela concern only "government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies" in screening and vetting procedures there, the proclamation reads.

It has barred foreign nationals from six countries who don't have relationships to those in the USA, from entering.

The White House portrayed the restrictions as consequences for countries that did not meet new requirements for vetting of immigrants and issuing of visas.

Citizens of Iran will not be eligible for tourism and business visas, but remain eligible for student and cultural exchange visas if they undergo additional scrutiny.

Trump has threatened to "destroy" North Korea if it attacks the United States or its allies.

Limited restrictions meanwhile were placed on Venezuela, for officials from government agencies including interior and foreign ministries, the main police and intelligence services, and other agencies.

"President Trump's original sin of targeting Muslims can not be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list", added Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The new policy could also complicate the Supreme Court's upcoming review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement the addition of North Korea and Venezuela "doesn't obfuscate the real fact that the administration's order is still a Muslim ban".

Administration officials say the new measures are required to keep the nation safe.

The first ban, which was chaotically rolled out in January, targeted refugees and seven Muslim-majority countries and was subsequently abandoned by the administration after a series of federal courts blocked it on grounds it violated the United States constitution's protection of religious freedom.

"With this proclamation, the president is carrying out his duty to protect the American people", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

It was subject to a range of legal challenges and the subject of several large-scale protests, and is due to be considered by the US Supreme Court in October, having been partly reinstated in July.

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