Sunday September 24, 2017
The Department of Homeland Security had recommended the president sign off on new, more targeted restrictions on foreign nationals from countries it says refuse to share information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Sen. Luther Strange, R-Ala., in Huntsville, Alabama, Friday. Trump is expected to announce new restrictions on travel to the U.S. as his ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries sunsets Sunday, 90 days after it went into effect. | AP
WASHINGTON – The United States will prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea to the United States 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 new restrictions, slated to go into effect on Oct. 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump’s original travel bans were challenged in court.
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 traveling to the United States now was very low.
“The acting secretary has recommended actions that are tough and that are tailored, including restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries,” said Miles Taylor, counselor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.
The ban that expired Sunday barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S.
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they have been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.
The recommendations are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.
The citizens of countries that refused now face travel restrictions and more stringent screening measures that would last indefinitely, until their governments complied.
Trump last week called for a “tougher” travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.
“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he tweeted.
Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his authority and violating the U.S. Constitution’s protections against religious bias. Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his campaign.