President Donald Trump is reportedly considering ramping up the number of countries that are on the travel ban list, which targets countries that have strong ties to terrorism.
The Associated Press spoke to several people in the Trump administration who reportedly said that the expanded travel ban list was “timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Trump’s January 2017 executive order” and reportedly included up to seven new countries.
“The countries on the proposed expansion list include allies that fall short on certain security measures,” The AP added. “The additional restrictions were proposed by Department of Homeland Security officials following a review of security protocols and ‘identity management’ for about 200 countries, according to the person.”
White House House spokesman Hogan Gidley did not confirm the plan, but did praise the current version of the travel ban.
“The Travel Ban has been very successful in protecting our Country and raising the security baseline around the world,” Gidley said in a statement to the AP. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common-sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures – because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”
The most current travel ban list includes: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea.
Democrats and the media have falsely claimed that the Trump administration’s travel ban was a “Muslim ban,” despite the fact that two of the countries on the list – Venezuela and North Korea – have little to no people of Islamic faith in their countries.
The AP seemingly tried to frame their report in a way that further promoted those false claims by noting that a “majority” of the new countries that would be added to the list were “Muslim” countries.
The reason that the claim is dishonest is because there are 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world and only banning five Muslim-majority countries means that 90% of Muslim-majority countries are not banned.
When the overwhelming majority of Muslim-majority countries are not banned, and the ones that are have extreme ties to terrorism, it becomes impossible to claim that the countries were added to the travel ban list because they were Muslim countries.
The White House released the following information about the countries that were on the travel ban list:
Sec. 2. Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Identified Concern. The entry into the United States of nationals of the following countries is hereby suspended and limited, as follows, subject to categorical exceptions and case by-case waivers, as described in sections 3 and 6 of this proclamation:
- (i) Iran regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The Department of State has also designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is hereby suspended, except that entry by such nationals under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals should be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
- (i) The government of Libya is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding on that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Libya, nonetheless, faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States. Libya also has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols. Further, Libya fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. The substantial terrorist presence within Libya’s territory amplifies the risks posed by the entry into the United States of its nationals.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Libya, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
- North Korea.
- (i) North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
- (i) Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks, is the source of significant terrorist threats, and has been designated by the Department of State as a state sponsor of terrorism. Syria has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols, fails to share public-safety and terrorism information, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is hereby suspended.
- (i) Venezuela has adopted many of the baseline standards identified by the Secretary of Homeland Security and in section 1 of this proclamation, but its government is uncooperative in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats. Venezuela’s government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion, and has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. There are, however, alternative sources for obtaining information to verify the citizenship and identity of nationals from Venezuela. As a result, the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies.
- (ii) Notwithstanding section 3(b)(v) of this proclamation, the entry into the United States of officials of government agencies of Venezuela involved in screening and vetting procedures — including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations — and their immediate family members, as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended. Further, nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.
- (i) The government of Yemen is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management. Yemen, nonetheless, faces significant identity-management challenges, which are amplified by the notable terrorist presence within its territory. The government of Yemen fails to satisfy critical identity-management requirements, does not share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately, and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Yemen as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is hereby suspended.
- (i) The Secretary of Homeland Security’s report of September 15, 2017, determined that Somalia satisfies the information-sharing requirements of the baseline described in section 1(c) of this proclamation. But several other considerations support imposing entry restrictions and limitations on Somalia. Somalia has significant identity-management deficiencies. For example, while Somalia issues an electronic passport, the United States and many other countries do not recognize it. A persistent terrorist threat also emanates from Somalia’s territory. The United States Government has identified Somalia as a terrorist safe haven. Somalia stands apart from other countries in the degree to which its government lacks command and control of its territory, which greatly limits the effectiveness of its national capabilities in a variety of respects. Terrorists use under-governed areas in northern, central, and southern Somalia as safe havens from which to plan, facilitate, and conduct their operations. Somalia also remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States. The State Department’s 2016 Country Reports on Terrorism observed that Somalia has not sufficiently degraded the ability of terrorist groups to plan and mount attacks from its territory. Further, despite having made significant progress toward formally federating its member states, and its willingness to fight terrorism, Somalia continues to struggle to provide the governance needed to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. The government of Somalia’s lack of territorial control also compromises Somalia’s ability, already limited because of poor recordkeeping, to share information about its nationals who pose criminal or terrorist risks. As a result of these and other factors, Somalia presents special concerns that distinguish it from other countries.
- (ii) The entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is hereby suspended. Additionally, visa adjudications for nationals of Somalia and decisions regarding their entry as nonimmigrants should be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if applicants are connected to terrorist organizations or otherwise pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States.