Trump Administration Expands Travel Ban to Six More Countries
The Trump administration on Friday announced that it is expanding travel restrictions to six more countries — after an almost year-long review by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that looked at countries failing to meet certain criteria set by the U.S.
THE SIX COUNTRIES ADDED TO THE TRAVEL BAN
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters Friday that DHS has undertaken a “systematic review” of all countries.
The six countries being added to the list are Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Tanzania and Sudan. Those are added to the current seven included in the ban: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.
On Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, the restrictions will apply to immigrant visas — for those seeking to live or work in the U.S. permanently. For Sudan and Tanzania, the restrictions are being placed on diversity visas — that come from the controversial diversity lottery program that grants visas to prospective immigrants randomly each year.
The initial seven countries have restrictions on both immigrant and non-immigrant visas but Wolf said that the six countries announced Friday are very different from the current seven.
“These countries for the most part want to be helpful, want to do the right thing, have relationships with the U.S. and are in some cases improving relations, but for a variety of different reasons failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out,” he said.
“And really the only way to mitigate the risk is to impose these travel restrictions,” he added.
Criteria considered when judging countries included to what extent the countries share information on passports and prospective bad actors, as well as whether the country poses an elevated national security risk in relation to crime, terrorism and illegal immigration.
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE TRAVEL “BAN”
On June 26, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held that President Trump’s third travel ban, issued on September 24, 2017, was not unconstitutional. This ban applies varying travel and immigration restrictions for certain people from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.
On April 10, 2018, the White House announced that it would lift restrictions on nationals of Chad, bringing the list of countries impacted by the Travel Ban to seven:
- North Korea
Six countries have been identified for NEW travel restrictions. Together with the existing seven countries, these thirteen countries are among the lowest ranking countries in the world. This is thirteen countries out of the approximately 200 countries in the world that the Department of Homeland Security has assessed.
As mentioned previously, the six countries with new travel restrictions are Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Unlike the previous seven countries identified in 2017, the good news is that there are prospects for near-term improvement for these six countries -— each has a functioning government, each has control of its territory, and each maintains productive relations with the United States. In addition, most have expressed a willingness to work with the U.S. to address their deficiencies.
However, the current identified deficiencies create vulnerabilities that terrorists, criminals and fraudulent actors could exploit to harm U.S. national security and public safety. As such, travel restrictions are necessary to mitigate the vulnerabilities.
For four countries – Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria – the President has imposed travel restrictions on immigrant visas.
The reason is straightforward – individuals who have entered the U.S. on immigrant visas are challenging to remove even if, after admission into the U.S., the individual is linked to disqualifying information such as terrorist connections, criminal ties, or misrepresented information.
And because each of these countries have deficiencies in sharing terrorist, criminal or identity information, it is likely that information reflecting that a visa applicant is a threat may not be available at the time the visa or entry is approved. This is unacceptable.
Two countries – Sudan and Tanzania – performed marginally better and the President decided to impose travel restrictions on Diversity Visas. This is a less severe sanction compared to the general restriction on immigrant visas, given the significantly fewer number of aliens affected.
Each of these restricted countries is restricted for a different reason. As such, the DHS is not imposing a blanket ban. DHS claims their approach is tailored to minimize the risk that a terrorist or criminal uses a country’s identity management or information sharing deficiencies to gain residence in the United States.