New US travel ban includes N Korea, Venezuela, Chad among 8 countries

Jerome Frank
September 26, 2017

"As president, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people", Trump wrote on Sunday, adding: "Making America Safe is my number one priority".

Most of the nations affected by the ban were part of an original travel ban on Muslim countries that Trump authorized shortly after taking office.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry responded to the travel ban on Monday: "It is worth pointing out that these types of lists are incompatible with global law, and constitute a form of psychological and political terrorism", the statement reads. "We will not admit those into our country we can not safely vet", Mr Trump said.

The administration's new directives did not address the ban on refugees from all countries, which is still in effect. For Venezuela, the restrictions apply only to government officials and their families.

The restrictions range from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions.

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Just hours before an amended version of the ban was scheduled to take effect, Judge Derrick K. Watson of the Federal District Court in Honolulu granted a temporary restraining order enjoining the Trump administration executive branch from enforcing or implementing two key sections of the order across the nation.

The Sunday proclamation could be less vulnerable to legal attack, scholars and other experts said, because it is the result of a months-long analysis of foreign vetting procedures by US officials. Countries could be removed from the list should they meet security standards set by the United States, the White House said.

Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his legal authority and violating the U.S. Constitution's protections against religious bias each time he has ordered new travel restrictions. Last week, Kim called Trump a "mentally deranged USA dotard" in response to Trump's threats to "totally destroy" the North. Trump later said Kim is "obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving or killing his people". And the timing of the action could make the pending Supreme Court review of the original order moot. It covers more countries (eight), including two that are not majority Muslim, and while its provisions vary by country, the travel restrictions are in most cases stricter. "The fact that Trump has added North Korea - with few visitors to the US - and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn't obfuscate the real fact that the administration's order is still a Muslim ban", said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Citizens of Iran will not be eligible for tourism and business visas, but remain eligible for student and cultural exchange visas if they undergo additional scrutiny.

President Nicolas Maduro has called those sanctions a financial blockade against the country, which is grappling with triple-digit inflation and chronic product shortages as its economy unravels.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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