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Donald Trump replaces travel ban with new restrictions affecting 8 countries
January 19 2018, 01:44 | Irvin Gilbert
White House declines to confirm or deny new travel ban
The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.
The Trump administration is preparing to replace its controversial travel ban with a new order tailored on a country-by-country basis but affecting slightly more than the six nations now targeted, the Wall Street Journal said on Friday.
Trump signed the initial travel ban during his first week in office, but it was met with immediate legal challenges, which have continued to hinder implementation of the full scope of the executive order.
The Department of Homeland Security has recommended the president impose the new, targeted restrictions on foreign nationals from countries it says refuse to share sufficient information with the USA or haven't taken necessary security precautions.
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 Donald Trump slapped new travel restrictions on citizens from North Korea, Venezuela and Chad, expanding the list of countries covered by his original travel bans that have been derided by critics as targeting Muslims.
The White House portrayed the restrictions as consequences for countries that did not meet new requirements for vetting of immigrants and issuing of visas.
The new rules would not have a stated end date, with countries facing the potential of being added or removed from the list at any time, according to the Journal, which cited people familiar with the process. Trump just released Muslim Ban 3.0, late on a Sunday night.
Johnathan Smith, legal director of the advocacy group Muslim Advocates, also slammed the measure as the "same Muslim ban" and an attempt "to undermine our Constitution".
"Each of the countries will be under its own set of travel restrictions, though in most cases citizens of the countries will be unable to emigrate to the United States personally and most will be barred from coming to work, study or vacation in America", the report noted. The original order temporarily banned people from seven majority-Muslim countries - Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen and Syria - and all refugees.
"I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people", Trump wrote in Sunday's proclamation.
Trump had called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" during his election campaign. "President Trump's original sin of targeting Muslims can not be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list".
A new travel policy could also complicate the Supreme Court's review, scheduled for argument on October 10.