The United States will prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea to the nation as part of a sweeping new travel ban that also slaps restrictions on Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia, the Trump administration said on Sunday. The bans and restrictions do not have any time limits; in effect, they are indefinite. 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. Trump tweeted Sunday:
‘Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.’
The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.
‘North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,’ the proclamation said. An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans travelling to the United States now was very low. The White House press release reads:
‘As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people.
‘I am committed to our ongoing efforts to engage those countries willing to cooperate, improve information-sharing and identity-management protocols and procedures, and address both terrorism-related and public-safety risks.
‘Some of the countries with remaining inadequacies face significant challenges.
‘Others have made strides to improve their protocols and procedures, and I commend them for these efforts.
‘But until they satisfactorily address the identified inadequacies, I have determined, on the basis of recommendations from the Secretary of Homeland Security and other members of my Cabinet, to impose certain conditional restrictions and limitations.’
Justifying the inclusion of Chad, the release reads:
‘The government of Chad is an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States, and the United States Government looks forward to expanding that cooperation, including in the areas of immigration and border management.
‘Chad has shown a clear willingness to improve in these areas.
‘Nonetheless, Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.
‘Additionally, 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.
‘At this time, additional information sharing to identify those foreign nationals applying for visas or seeking entry into the United States who represent national security and public-safety threats is necessary given the significant terrorism-related risk from this country.’
Regarding Venezuela, the proclamation reads: ‘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.’
Not all of the eight countries on this revised list will see a full travel ban. Iranians with valid student or exchange visitor visas will be able to come to the United States, although they will ‘be subject to enhanced screening and vetting requirements’. For Venezuela, the ban appears to apply specifically to government workers in specific agencies, such as the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior and the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service. The release reads:
‘Nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.’