Citizens of more than half a dozen countries will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday that will replace his expiring travel ban.
“As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” reads the proclamation.
“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump tweeted late Sunday after the new policy was announced.
The announcement comes the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries was set to expire 90 days after it went into effect. That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lacked a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S.
Only one of the countries in Trump’s temporary ban, Sudan, will no longer be subject to travel restrictions.
The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and some from Venezuela — will go into effect on October 18.
Most citizens of these countries will be indefinitely banned from entering the US.
Venezuela was also added to the list, but a suspension of non-immigrant visas to its citizens applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.
Iraqi citizens will not be subject to travel prohibitions but will face enhanced scrutiny or vetting.
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 travelling to the United States now was very low.
Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers.
The restrictions are targeted at countries that Department of Homeland Security 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,” said Miles Taylor, counselor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, said on Friday.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Trump told reporters about the ban: “The tougher, the better.”
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 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.