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Trumps Expands Travel Ban To Eight Countries, Adds North Korea, Venezuela

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On Sunday evening, President Trump announced he would replace his controversial travel ban with a targeted list of restrictions that will enhance vetting for nationals from eight countries, and restrict or prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea and Venezuela among others, to the United States as part of a sweeping new travel ban that also slaps restrictions on Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia – countries that hardly have a "thriving" tourism industry with the US.

“As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Trump said in the proclamation. Individuals who fall under the Supreme Court's "bona fide" exception can still apply for visas until Oct. 18. This would allow a foreign grandparent of a U.S. citizen to be granted the benefit of travel until this date.

Speaking to reporters earlier, Bloomberg noted that Trump said “the tougher, the better,” on the restrictions. During his presidential campaign, Trump spoke often of “extreme vetting” of those wanting to enter the U.S., and on Sunday he tweeted, “We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

While Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia were part of the president's original travel ban, it has removed travel restrictions on Sudan, while adding Chad, Iraq, Venezuela and North Korea.  The addition of latter two nations broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list. Though Iraq is not part of the list of targeted nations, the Department of Homeland Security said that Iraqi nationals should "be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks to the national security or public safety of the United States." 

The officials say these states failed to comply with the U.S. information-sharing requirements that aim to make vetting processes stronger. 

Some states were denied because of their identity management and information sharing deficiencies, some have substantial terrorist organizations in their region that add to the threat level of admitting their citizens into the U.S., and others have failed to comply whatsoever with the information agreements.

The restrictions are “necessary” and conditions-based with the aim of protecting Americans by having stronger vetting standards, one senior official said.

Changes to the list can be made on a rolling basis with updates every 100 days. The changes can go both ways: countries can be taken off the list, but they can also be put on the list if they are not seen as complying with the standard

The officials said an announcement will be coming in next six days to inform members of Congress about any changes or modifications to the refugee cap.

The new restrictions, slated to go into effect on October 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump’s original travel bans were challenged in court. The proclamation comes the same day that Trump’s 90-day ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority nations is set to expire.

“North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,” the proclamation said. "Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended."

Of course, the revised ban is largely just another theatrical measure by Trump: an administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans traveling to the United States now was very low.

While the full fact sheet on the just announced "Proclamation on Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats" can be found here, here are the White House's justifications for its new country specific restrictions:

  • Chad – Although it is an important partner, especially in the fight against terrorists, the government in Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, and several terrorist groups are active within Chad or in the surrounding region, including elements of Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Chad, as immigrants, and as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas, is suspended.
  • Iran – The government in Iran regularly fails to cooperate with the United States Government in identifying security risks; is the source of significant terrorist threats; is state sponsor of terrorism; and fails to receive its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Iran as immigrants and as nonimmigrants is suspended, except that entry by nationals of Iran under valid student (F and M) and exchange visitor (J) visas is not suspended, although such individuals will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Libya – Although it is an important partner, especially in the area of counterterrorism, the government in Libya faces significant challenges in sharing several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information; has significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols; has been assessed to be not fully cooperative with respect to receiving its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States; and has a substantial terrorist presence within its territory. Accordingly, 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 suspended.
  • North Korea – The government in North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of North Korea as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
  • Somalia – Although it satisfies minimum U.S. information-sharing requirements, the government in Somalia still has significant identity-management deficiencies; is recognized as a terrorist safe haven; remains a destination for individuals attempting to join terrorist groups that threaten the national security of the United States; and struggles to govern its territory and to limit terrorists’ freedom of movement, access to resources, and capacity to operate. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Somalia as immigrants is suspended, and nonimmigrants traveling to the United States will be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
  • Syria – The government in Syria regularly fails to cooperate with the U.S. Government in identifying security risks; is the source of significant terrorist threats; has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism; has significant inadequacies in identity-management protocols; and fails to share public-safety and terrorism information. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of nationals of Syria as immigrants and nonimmigrants is suspended.
  • Venezuela – The government in Venezuela is uncooperative in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats; fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately; 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. Accordingly, the entry into the United States of certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members as nonimmigrants on business (B-1), tourist (B-2), and business/tourist (B-1/B-2) visas is suspended.
  • Yemen – Although it is an important partner, especially in the fight against terrorism, the government in Yemen faces significant identity-management challenges, which are amplified by the notable terrorist presence within its territory; fails to satisfy critical identity-management requirements; and does not share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately. Accordingly, 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 suspended.

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