The Trump administration is scheduled to announce new, tougher restrictions on travel into the United States on Sunday, the day that the current controversial travel ban expires.
The current 90-day travel ban applies to people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — all identified as countries with high terrorist activity.
That is reportedly being replaced with more targeted restrictions, which will apply to even more countries, and won’t have a set end date. Additionally, it will be flexible, as the restrictions on travel from the affected nations may be added or removed at any time, based on various factors, such as how the countries cooperate with U.S. mandates.
The Department of Homeland Security had identified 17 nations who were failing to comply with U.S. standards, to include issuing reliable, electronic passports that include biometrics and informing the U.S. of known terrorists. The U.S. also has required that countries regularly report lost and stolen passports to Interpol, an international policing agency.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, about half of those countries made the changes to be in compliance with the U.S. standards, which left the DHS to recommend travel restrictions on the remaining countries.
The exact countries affected by the new restrictions are not yet known, but the number is estimated to be around 8 or 9.
On Thursday, a White House spokeswoman said, “The Trump administration will ensure we only admit those who can be properly vetted and will not pose a threat to national security or public safety.”
President Trump tweeted last week, “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
The Wall Street Journal noted that the standards the U.S. has set–regarding passports and other countries reporting suspected terrorists–is about the same as what the Obama administration requested to vet travelers coming into the U.S.
“The difference is the Obama administration generally tried to persuade nations to cooperate with incentives such as visa-free travel to the U.S., whereas the Trump administration is using threats, such as a ban on travel to the U.S.”
David Heyman, a senior DHS official in the Obama administration, noted, “They’re now creating sticks where there once were carrots.”
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