Eight Countries Named In New Executive Order Restricting Travel

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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President Donald Trump issued a proclamation Sunday creating a second wave of travel restrictions against eight countries, just as his original executive order on refugee and migrant entry is set to expire.

Under the terms of the new proclamation, entry of foreign nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia will be suspended or restricted as of Oct. 18. Venezuelan government officials and their family members will also be denied entry.

Iraqi nationals will be subject to enhanced screening during visa issuance and travel, though entrance to the U.S. will still be permitted. Sudan is the only country named in the original travel ban which does not appear in Sunday’s directive.

“With this proclamation, the president is carrying out his duty to protect the American people,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said. “The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies to implement these measures in an orderly manner. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners who share our commitment to national and global security.”

Moments after the proclamation was released, Trump said that ensuring the country’s security was his top priority.

Iranian nationals holding student or exchange visitor visas are unaffected by the order. Somali nationals may enter the United States, but may not emigrate on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Officials further said no visas will be revoked as a result of Sunday’s proclamation. In addition, all individuals with U.S. residency or green cards are also unaffected.

The solicitor general notified the Supreme Court of the new proclamation Sunday evening, as it will affect the litigation currently before the justices. The solicitor general, the federal government’s primary advocate before the Court, asked for new briefing in the case due Oct. 5.

“We will continue to vigorously defend the president’s authority,” a Department of Justice spokesperson said.

Administration officials say the decision to restrict travel to the countries named in the order was the product of a deliberative and collaborative process involving U.S. security officials and foreign governments. All countries were informed of baseline security expectations by the administration in July. While the original travel ban was in place, an interagency task force identified some 15 countries who fail to comply with U.S. security requirements. After consultation with the relevant foreign governments, that list was reduced to eight states, several of whom were described as intentionally noncompliant.

The requirements in question include robust exchange of information related to public safety and terrorism, acceptance of nationals deported from the U.S., and document security. The final category refers to ensuring the integrity of visas and passports, fighting credential fraud, and sharing information about lost or stolen travel documents with U.S. and international law enforcement entities.

Specific details as to the deficiencies of each country will not be made public given diplomatic and security sensitivities.

A State Department official said detailed instructions to maintain and ensure compliance with U.S. expectations have been wired to all American embassies.

The proclamation sets no guidance with respect to refugee resettlement. Though refugee entry is suspended under the president’s initial order, the ban will expire later this year. Officials say new guidelines for refugee entry, including a figure on the total number of refugees the U.S. will accept for the coming fiscal year, will be released in a matter of days.

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