Congress begins drafting major travel ban for U.S. citizens

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Following 22-year-old Otto Warmbier’s imprisonment in North Korea and his tragic death after being returned in a coma to his parents, Congress is preparing legislation that would prohibit most U.S. travel to the hostile country.

Warmbier’s death heightened tension between the United States and North Korea, prompting lawmakers to seek strategies to punish Pyongyang while protecting U.S. citizens.

According to CNN, the House Foreign Affairs Committee intends to draft bipartisan legislation that would ban the majority of travel to North Korea for five years.

Sponsored by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the legislation would prohibit travel for tourism purposes, and require U.S. citizens going to North Korea for any reason to obtain a license from the Treasury Department.

Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda banner in North Korea, died after suffering a “severe neurological injury.”

North Korea has been blamed for Warmbier’s death, although the specific cause has not been determined by U.S. doctors.

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