January 22, 2020 10:10:20 pm
US President Donald Trump Wednesday announced that his administration was preparing to add a “couple of countries” to the controversial list of states whose citizens are subject to travel bans or severe restrictions on entry to the United States, reported AFP. The list would be released “very shortly”, he added. It is unclear how many countries will be added to the list.
“We are adding a couple of countries to it. We have to be safe. Our country has to be safe,” he said at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The current ban suspends immigrant and non-immigrant visas to applicants from the affected countries, but it allows exceptions, including for students and those who have established “significant contacts” in the US.
It represents a significant softening from Trump’s initial order, which had suspended travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, blocked refugee admissions for 120 days and suspended travel from Syria.
That order was immediately blocked by the courts, prompting a months-long effort by the administration to develop clear standards and federal review processes to try to withstand legal muster. Under the current system, restrictions are targeted at countries that the Department of Homeland Security says fail to share sufficient information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions, such as issuing electronic passports with biometric information and sharing information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories.
It said the other nations being considered for new rules were Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Sudan and Tanzania. The first package of travel bans and restrictions — targeting mainly Muslim majority countries — were announced shortly after Trump took office in January 2017 and outraged his critics.
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