President Donald Trump issued new travel regulations Sunday that ban or restrict people from eight countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia — from entering the United States. Federal officials are to make recommendations to the White House every 180 days as to which countries will remain on the list.
The president issued a proclamation that replaces a travel ban the White House first instituted in January 2017 then revised this spring. That travel ban was set to expire Sunday.
The new travel restrictions place different limits on immigrants and non-immigrants like business travelers and tourists. The limits also differ from country to country.
For North Korea and Syria, all visas for both immigrants and non-immigrants have been suspended.
For Chad, Libya and Yemen, all immigrant visas have been suspended as have all nonimmigrant business, tourist and business/tourist visas. Iran has the same restrictions but with exceptions for student and exchange visitor visas.
For Somalia, all immigrant visas have been suspended and nonimmigrants will be subject to additional scrutiny.
For Venezula, non-immigrant visas for government officials involved in screening and vetting procedures and for their family members have been suspended.
The president first imposed a travel ban on seven Muslim countries in January, prompting chaos and protests at airports across the country, including in Los Angeles. The travel ban was then revised in March.
Along the way, numerous court challenges were filed against the travel restrictions. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed parts of the revised travel ban to take effect.
The court will hear full arguments in the legal challenges to the travel ban in October. It's not immediately clear how the latest announcement will impact the legal cases.
The restrictions announced Sunday will be phased in.
For anyone who was subject to entry restrictions under the president's March revised travel ban --Executive Order 13780 -- the restrictions took effect Sunday, Sep. 24, at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
For everyone else, they'll go into effect on Oct. 18.
In the latest proclamation, Trump said the White House worked with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Department of Justice on a review that assessed nearly 200 countries' procedures for vetting people who want to come to the U.S.:
"By obtaining additional information and formal commitments from foreign governments, the United States Government has improved its capacity and ability to assess whether foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat."
That review focused on three areas:
- Identity-management protocols
- National security information
- Public-safety risk assessment
In the decree, Trump said he considered several factors, including each country's ability and willingness to cooperate with the U.S. and risk factors, such as whether a country has a "significant terrorist presence. I also considered foreign policy, national security, and counterterrorism goals."
Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, said the travel ban remains objectionable despite the addition of non-Muslim countries to those that have been restricted.
"The majority of people affected by this revised travel ban remains Muslims, and therefore just by adding Venezuela and North Korea, it does not take away from the discriminatory aspect," he said.
Immigration attorney Julie Ann Goldberg, who has an office in Los Angeles, represents clients from war-torn Yemen who are being sponsored as immigrants by U.S. relatives. Many have fled to Djibouti, a tiny nation on the eastern coast of Africa, to escape the civil war in Yemen. She said she fears some might not be able to get their visas.
“I have a 12-year-old girl who has been waiting since the day she was born to get her visa. Her mother’s was issued. Hers wasn’t,” Goldberg said. “I’ve got other people who have been waiting 15 years, others have been waiting 10 years … these are people who have been through the system, who have been appropriately vetted.”
This story has been updated.