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us travel ban

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The US has expanded its travel ban to include people from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

According to the White House, the new restrictions follow a review of information sharing by foreign governments.

President Donald Trump issued a presidential proclamation on September 24.

He said in a post on Twitter: “Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

The restrictions on Venezuelans apply only to government officials and their family members.

The three new countries join five others from President Trump’s original travel ban: Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. However, the new proclamation removed restrictions that were placed on Sudan.

Image source Wikipedia

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President Trump’s original ban was highly controversial, as it affected six majority-Muslim countries, and was widely labeled a “Muslim ban”.

The travel ban was subject to a range of legal challenges and several large-scale protests, and is due to be considered by the US Supreme Court in October, having been partly reinstated in July.

The American Civil Liberties Union rights group said the addition of the new countries “doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban”.

It is not yet clear how President Trump’s new proclamation, which changes several key elements, will affect that legal challenge.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela now means not all nations on the list are majority-Muslim.

The criteria for the new ban list is now based on vetting procedures and co-operation, and the restrictions have now been “tailored” on a country-by-country basis. The White House said North Korea did not co-operate with the US government “in any respect” and failed all requirements – and so all travel to the US by its citizens has been banned. Chad, while an important counter-terrorism partner, did not share terrorism-related and other public information the US required – business and tourist visas for its nationals are suspended. Only “certain Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family members” have been banned – its government has recently been hit with economic sanctions by the US, who now say it does not co-operate “in verifying whether its citizens pose national security or public-safety threats” and does not receive deported nationals willingly.

Most of the restrictions come in the form of suspension of B-1 and B-2 business and tourist visas, and they do not appear to be time-limited in the way that President Trump’s former executive order was.

In a fact sheet accompanying President Trump’s proclamation, the White House said that while Iraq also falls short of the required criteria, the country was not included in the new restrictions “because of the close co-operative relationship between the United States” and their part in fighting so-called Islamic State.

The restrictions come into effect on October 18, but will not apply to those already in possession of a valid visa, the White House said.

American citizens are to be ban from traveling to North Korea.

In a statement, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the ban would be published next week in the Federal Register, to come into effect 30 days later.

US officials linked the move to the death of jailed American student Otto Warmbier.

Once the ban is in effect, US citizens will need special validation to travel to or within North Korea.

Otto Warmbier traveled to North Korea with Young Pioneer Tours. He was arrested in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was returned to the US in a coma in June and died a week later.

Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours, who both operate in North Korea, revealed on July 21 that they had been told of the upcoming ban by the Swedish embassy, which acts for the US as Washington has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

Image source Wikimedia

It appears the embassy was urging all US nationals to depart immediately and was trying to check on the number of US tourists left in North Korea.

Heather Nauert’s statement said: “Due to mounting concerns over the serious risk of arrest and long-term detention under North Korea’s system of law enforcement, the Secretary has authorized a Geographical Travel Restriction on all US nationals’ use of a passport to travelling through, or to North Korea.

“Once in effect, US passports will be invalid for travel to, through, and in North Korea, and individuals will be required to obtain a passport with a special validation in order to travel to or within North Korea.

“We intend to publish a notice in the Federal Register next week.

“The restriction will be implemented 30 days after publication.”

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After the death of Otto Warmbier, the China-based Young Pioneer Tours announced it would no longer take visitors from the US to North Korea.

There has been movement towards a ban for a while in the US, which increased with the Warmbier death.

In May, two congressmen introduced the North Korea Travel Control bill to cut off the foreign currency the country earns from American tourists.

The House foreign affairs subcommittee is scheduled to take up the draft legislation on July 27 but it would still have to go to the Senate. So there could be an executive order.

Some are suggesting the US is using the date the ban is set to be announced – 27 July – to cloud North Korea’s Victory Day on the same day.

North Korea only relaxed its rules for American visitors in 2010.

The state department does not keep a record of the number of American tourists.

Tour operators suggest that up to 1,000 visit every year.

President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban comes into effect on June 30 and people from six mainly Muslim countries and all refugees now face tougher US entry due to.

According to the new order, people without “close” family or business relationships in the US could be denied visas and barred entry.

The rules apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, as well as to all refugees.

Lawyers took up positions as US airports, offering free advice.

However, there was no sign of the chaos that affected travelers when the first version of the ban was brought in at a few hours’ notice in January.

Image source Wikipedia

That is because the executive order does not affect people who already have valid visas or green cards.

US Travel Ban: White House Sets New Criteria for Visa Applicants from Six Muslim Countries

The Department of Homeland Security said it expected “business as usual at our ports of entry”.

The Supreme Court ruling on June 26 upheld the temporary ban, a key Trump policy.

However, the judges provided a major exception, for those who have “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship” with someone in the US.

The effect is that citizens of the affected countries with a close relative in the US, such as a spouse, parent, child or sibling, will potentially be allowed in.

In a last minute change, the Trump administration extended the definition of close family to include fiancés.

However grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces are not considered to be “bona fide” relations.

Moments before the ban began at 20:00 Washington time on June 29, it emerged that the state of Hawaii had asked a federal judge for clarification.

Hawaii’s attorney general has argued that the definition of “close family” is too narrow and may improperly prevent people from travelling to the US.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it would be closely monitoring the guidance and implementation of the order.

The Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision on the ban when its next session begins in October.

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The US has set new criteria for visa applicants from six mainly Muslim countries and all refugees, requiring them to have a “close” family or business tie to the United States.

The new rules, affecting people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, come into force on June 29.

They were issued after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

Donald Trump’s controversial executive order had been blocked by lower courts.

According to the new rules, for the next 90 days those without a close relationship – defined as a parent, spouse, child, son or daughter-in-law, or sibling – will not be able to enter the US.

The definition of “close” relationships excludes grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, extended family and grandchildren.

Also exempt from the new rules are those with business or educational ties to the US.

Image source Flickr

However, the guidelines specifically state that the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order.

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Those who already hold valid visas are not affected. Dual nationals who travel on their passport from the unaffected country will also be allowed entry.

The rules come into effect at 20:00 Washington time.

However, lawyers both for and against the ban have warned that the new restrictions – which will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling – could open the door to a flood of legal challenges.

However, the Supreme Court will not be reviewing the case until October – which will mean the 90-day period will be largely done.

The court also approved the 120-day ban on refugees entering the US, allowing the government to bar entry to refugee claimants who do not have any “bona fide relationship” with an American individual or entity.

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Donald Trump’s administration has put a cap on the number of refugees it is willing to accept at 50,000, which the State Department said would be reached in the next two weeks.

Rights groups have been fighting President Trump’s executive order for the last five months.

President Trump said the order was needed to stop terrorists entering the US, but critics said it was a ban on Muslims.

The order was first signed in February, but was blocked by the courts. A revised order was halted by a judge in Hawaii just hours before it was supposed to go into force in March.

President Donald Trump called the court’s decision a “victory for our national security.