- REUTERS/Eric Thayer
- The Trump administration is reportedly planning to extend the travel ban to seven more countries next Monday, the third anniversary of his original controversial order.
- While the countries are not confirmed, Politico reported that the administration is planning to include Belarus, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
- President Donald Trump confirmed reports of the expansion to the Wall Street Journal while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
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The Trump administration is reportedly planning to expand its controversial travel ban to include seven more countries, including Sudan and Nigeria.
President Donald Trump confirmed that the administration would be updating the list of countries in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While he wouldn’t reveal which nations would be added, Politico spoke with sources who said the new restrictions would bar immigrants and travelers from countries including Belarus, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Administration officials said the bans would not wholly bar all travelers from entering the US, just individuals with certain visas such as business or visitor visas. The updated restriction could reportedly also prohibit some countries from participating in the diversity lottery program, which gives green cards to citizens from countries with low levels of immigration. Trump has previously called for an end to the popular immigration program, claiming the US should focus on skilled workers instead.
Trump’s first controversial travel ban was issued in January 2017 and drew sharp criticism for singling out Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Two versions of the original order were struck down twice in federal court, which ruled the immigration policy amounted to discrimination towards Muslim travelers. A third version of the immigration policy prohibiting travel from Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, North Korea, and Venezuela was finally upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018.
Administration officials said the list isn’t final and that a couple more countries could be added. The expanded immigration policy could be released as early as next Monday, which would be the third anniversary of Trump’s original order.
While the original travel ban orders came under fire for discriminating Muslim travelers, the countries reported to be included on the updated travel ban list are not majority-Muslim countries. However, the Wall Street Journal noted that several of the countries had relatively higher rates of citizens overstaying their visas in the US, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.
Many immigrants’ rights groups have been critical of the administration’s plans to bar even more travelers from the US.
“Tens of thousands of American families are already hurting and separated because of this bigoted and cruel ban. Doubling down on it won’t make any of us safer,” Farhana Khera, the president of Muslim Advocates, told the Wall Street Journal.
Trump continues to maintain that the contentious travel bans are put in place to protect Americans from potential terrorist attacks.
“We have to be tough, and we have to be safe, we have to be secure… at a minimum, we have to make sure we vet people coming into our country,” Trump said following the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the ban.
Despite Trump’s claims, there have been no deadly terror attacks on US soil post-9/11 by any people from the countries on the travel ban list, according to research from the New America Foundation.
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