Trump Administration Unveils Expansion Of Travel Ban

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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The Trump administration announced travel restrictions on six new countries Friday, adding to the list of countries that is already placed under a travel ban.

During a conference call with reporters, officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the rollout of travel restrictions on Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. An official said that inclusion of these governments is due to their inability to meet certain security standards.

“Whenever foreign nationals present themselves in the U.S., authorities must be able to answer three basic questions to determine if they are admissible: Is this person who they claim to be? Do they pose a threat to security and public safety? Do they qualify for admission based on the Immigration and Nationality Act? However, the foreign documents presented to U.S. cannot always be verified,” a DHS official explained.

“Our ability to trust that document [a foreign national’s passport] is dependent on the quality of the process of the foreign government issuing it, security features in that document and our ability to [confirm its identity],” the official continued.

(Credit: Shutterstock / Vadim Georgiev)

(Credit: Shutterstock / Vadim Georgiev)

“Verification can’t always be accomplished by a physical examination of a document. People have a way of getting false documents, or illegitimately getting documents that have been issued to other people and presenting themselves fraudulently,” the DHS official said.

President Donald Trump has tried to restrict travel from certain countries since the very beginning of his administration, but has been beset with challenges. It was the third iteration of his travel ban that survived a court challenge in the Supreme Court in June 2018. It included seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen.

With the inclusion of the new six countries, the travel restriction affects thirteen governments in total. DHS said these countries rank lowest in the world in terms of complying with security standards, largely due to economic challenges, poor diplomatic relations and other reasons.

“DHS and the Department of State have informed each of the six countries about their specific deficiencies and are actively identifying solutions in partnership with those countries. Any country covered by this proclamation or Proclamation 9645 can have their restrictions removed at anytime by remedying these deficiencies,” the DHS spokesperson explained.

“The restrictions being imposed on the six countries are different from what was imposed in 2017. They will only include limited categories of visa applications,” the spokesperson continued, adding:

“Specifically, entry will be restricted for immigrant visa applicants from Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, whereas Sudan and Tanzania will be limited on to diversity visa applications.”(RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Says House Democrats Will Vote To Block Trump’s Travel Ban)

The proclamation is expected to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 22 — 21 days after the president’s signature. DHS said it estimates around 12,398 people to be impacted by the upcoming rule, but that’s before applying any waivers, such as waivers for special immigrant visas.

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