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Report: Trump administration to add 7 more countries to travel ban

President Donald J. Trump puts his hand over his heart during the 136th Coast Guard Academy commencement exercise in New London, Conn., May 17, 2017. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.)
January 22, 2020

The Trump administration is reportedly adding seven more countries to its travel restriction policy, with an announcement expected to be held on Monday — the three-year anniversary of his original order.

According to new reports, the administration is planning on placing visa restrictions on travelers from mostly African and Asian countries, which includes Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (also called Burma), Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The expanded restriction isn’t expected to be a widespread ban on travel to the United States for all of the countries, but instead could be a restriction on certain types of visas, like business or visitor visas, administration officials said, the WSJ reported.

Hogan Gidley, a White House spokesman, defended President Donald Trump’s original plan, but declined to reveal or confirm details about the reported plans.

“The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world,” he said. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”

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Trump is reportedly planning to sign the restriction expansion on Monday, which would be the three-year anniversary of the original order he signed on Jan. 27, 2017. It was one of the first executive orders he issued as president to uphold one of his most viral campaign promises.

On Friday, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf acknowledged the United States has been developing stricter criteria for foreign governments to help vet foreigners who wish to enter the United States.

“For a small number of countries that lack either the will or the capability to adhere to these criteria, travel restrictions may become necessary to mitigate threats,” he said at a Homeland Security Experts Group event.

Trump’s travel restriction order is one of his most contentious policies, some have even called it unconstitutional as it had to reach the Supreme Court for an official ruling, which upheld the president’s decision in June 2018.

The White House released a statement at that time saying the ruling “is a tremendous victory for the American People and the Constitution. The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States. In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country. This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country. As long as I am President, I will defend the sovereignty, safety, and security of the American People, and fight for an immigration system that serves the national interests of the United States and its citizens. Our country will always be safe, secure, and protected on my watch.”