The Trump administration on Friday, Jan.31, announced that it is expanding the travel ban to include six more countries, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to call it “outrageous, un-American” policy that “threatens our security, our values, and the rule of law.”
“The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“With this latest callous decision, the president has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution, and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants,” she added.
The six countries being added to the list of those that will face increased travel restrictions are: Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Sudan. The initial seven countries are: Libya, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The restrictions will apply to immigrant visas for nationals of Burma, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Nigeria—those who seek to live in the United States permanently rather than temporary residence. For nationals of Sudan and Tanzania, the restrictions are being placed on diversity visas.
“These countries for the most part want to be helpful, want to do the right thing, have relationships with the U.S. and are in some cases improving relations, but for a variety of different reasons failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out,” acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf said, the Fox News reported.
“And really the only way to mitigate the risk is to impose these travel restrictions,” he added.
The Trump administration rolled out the first version of the travel ban in January 2017 following the president’s campaign promise. After multiple court challenges, the ban was upheld in 2018 by the Supreme Court. Wolf said Friday that since then the DHS has “enhanced” its approach to travel restrictions and “made a number of processes stronger.”
The expanded travel ban is one of a number of measures set by the administration in order to better vet legal immigration processes. The White House said, “The orders have been a tremendous and vital success.”
“President Trump’s security and travel proclamations have immeasurably improved our national security, substantially raised the global standard for information-sharing, and dramatically strengthened the integrity of the United States’ immigration system,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote.
Pelosi said Democrats would challenge the new rule in Congress and in court by introducing the NO BAN Act to “prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the president’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”