Trump announces revised travel ban on North Korea, Venezuela and Chad

Travellers from eight countries, including North Korea, will face restrictions on entry to the US under the latest ban.

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“We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” the US president tweeted along with his signed proclamation. 

The new rules, which will also affect citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.

Officials stress that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation.

Some countries will face full bans, others are more tailored.

North Korea, Venezuela and Chad were added due to poor security and lack of cooperation with American authorities.

North Korea, locked in a dangerous face-off with Washington over its nuclear weapons program, was added, the order said, because Pyongyang “does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect.”

Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.南京桑拿,南京SPA,/KJ886okyfC

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017

Restrictions on Venezuela will only apply to certain government officials and their families.

Mr Trump’s controversial ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries expired on Sunday, 90 days after it went into effect.

The new restrictions replace the existing ban which the White House claims was a measure to protect the US from terror attacks. 

Sudan, one of six majority-Muslim countries on the original travel ban, has been removed from the list, leaving eight nations with complete or partial blocks on travel to the US.

The US has praised Sudan’s efforts in fighting terrorism.

In a proclamation released by the White House on September 24, President Trump said he “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.  

The president said the travel restrictions and limitations would be in place until the named countries “satisfactorily address the identified inadequacies”. 

0:00 Venezuela denounces US sanctions, calls Trump ‘supremacist, racist’ Share Venezuela denounces US sanctions, calls Trump ‘supremacist, racist’

Why does the US want a travel ban?  

Trump ordered the new restrictions to replace an expiring measure that had locked him into political and legal battles over what critics alleged was an effort to block Muslims from entry into the country since he took office in January.

“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump said in a tweet.

In a presidential order, Trump said the action was needed to press the countries to improve procedures for identifying their nationals and sharing information with the United States.

In addition, he said, the list was created to “advance foreign policy, national security and counterterrorism objectives.”

“These restrictions are both vital to national security and conditions-based, not time-based,” a senior administration official said, noting that countries can be removed from the list if they can rise to US traveller vetting standards.

Officials stressed that while Iraq was not included on the new list, it was deeply deficient in security vetting of immigrants and travellers to the United States. 

But Baghdad is a close ally and supports the presence of large numbers of US troops and civilian officials. 

‘Not a Muslim ban’

“Religion, or the religious origin of individuals or nations, was not a factor,” a senior US government official told reporters.

“The inclusion of those countries, Venezuela and North Korea, was about the fact that those governments are simply not compliant with our basic security requirements.”

Chad was added to the list even though Trump’s order called it “an important and valuable counterterrorism partner.”

But the order noted the presence in Chad of several designated terror groups like the so-called Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

Nevertheless, “Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information,” it said. And, the order added, the country failed on one “key” but unspecified criterion used in a broad review of countries for the ban. 

Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, said that of the three countries added: “Chad is majority Muslim, travel from North Korea is already basically frozen and the restrictions on Venezuela only affect government officials on certain visas. You can’t get any more transparent than that.”

On the decision to remove Sudan, she said: “Last week, the government ended Temporary Protected Status for Sudan, suggesting that the government of Sudan was pressured into agreeing to accept massive numbers of deported Sudanese nationals from the US in exchange for being dropped from the travel ban.”

“President Trump’s original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list,” added Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union.

File image of the Supreme Court Building in Washington which has heard travel ban challenges in the past. AAP

The ban’s past: Hawaii’s battle for families

When President Trump’s initial travel ban came into effect earlier this year, it became the subject of a legal challenge and was widely criticised by refugee and immigrant advocates.

The 90-day ban took effect in June and also included a 120-day ban on all refugees.

At the time, the state of Hawaii asked a federal judge in Honolulu to clarify the Supreme Court ruling.

Hawaii said the US government intended to violate the Supreme Court’s instructions by improperly excluding from the United States people who had a close family relationship with US citizens.

The Supreme Court exempted from the ban travellers and refugees with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the US.

As an example, the court said those with a “close familial relationship” with someone in the US would be covered.

The Trump administration decided on the basis of its interpretation of the court’s language that grandparents, grandchildren and fiancés travelling from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen would be barred from obtaining visas while the ban was in effect.

Hawaii called the refusal to recognise grandparents, fiancés and other relatives as an acceptable family relationship “a plain violation of the Supreme Court’s command.”

Trump’s Travel Ban: How it unfolded