Trump issues travel restrictions on North Korea, Venezuela in expanded ban

Trump issues travel restrictions on North Korea, Venezuela in expanded ban

The United States will prohibit entry of citizens from North Korea to America as part of a sweeping new travel ban that also slaps restrictions on Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia.


Key points:

  • US says North Korea does not meet information-sharing requirements
  • Donald Trump says he 'must protect security and interests of US'
  • Officials say they have been working on new ban for months

The new restrictions, slated to go into effect on October 18, resulted from a review after President Donald Trump's original travel bans were challenged in court.

The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.

"North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements," the proclamation said.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans traveling to the US now was very low.

The restrictions rage from full travel bans on nationals from countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions.

A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.

"As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people," the proclamation reads.

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

The order also permits case-by-case waivers.

Critics say Trump overstepping authority

The restrictions are targeted at countries that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials say refuse to share information with the US or haven't taken necessary security precautions.

"The acting secretary has recommended actions that are tough and that are tailored, including restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries," Miles Taylor, counsellor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, said on Friday.

Unlike Mr Trump's first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.

The restrictions are based on a new baseline developed by the DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travellers' terror-related and criminal histories.

The US then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.

The eight countries are those that refused or were unable to comply.

Mr Trump last week called for a "tougher" travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.

"The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!" he tweeted.

Critics have accused Mr Trump of overstepping his authority and violating the US constitution's protections against religious bias.

Mr Trump had called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" during his campaign.

The new policy could complicate the Supreme Court's review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month.

Reuters/AP