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THE UNITED STATES TRAVEL RESTRICTION ORDER — MATTERS ARISING

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Lack of information causes misinformation. This is one reason information managers are proactive in matters of public interest.  The US-Africa Trade Council in which some patriotic Nigerians serve issued a statement received early today indicating that: ‘’Even though tourist visa applications may come under more scrutiny, the visas would continue to be issued, to those who normally would qualify for visa’’.  Accordingly, no intending Nigerian has been barred from applying for the issuance of Non-Immigrant visas. There is a huge difference between immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants. In this piece provoked by social responsibility, we also publish a report by the Cable Network News (CNN) that states that several Democrats in the United States Congress are opposed to the visa ban. But one lesson to be learned is that the actions of a few renegades in a nation of 200 people are capable of denting the image of the nation. This is why we have always counselled against unlawful conduct at home and abroad.

PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION  AS SIGNED BY PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP          

Proclamation on Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that, absent the measures set forth in this proclamation, the immigrant entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions.  I therefore hereby proclaim the following:

Section 1. Suspension of Entry for Nationals of Countries of Identified Concern:  The entry into the United States of nationals of the following countries is hereby suspended and limited, as follows, subject to section 2 of this proclamation.

(a)  The entry suspensions and limitations enacted by section 2 of Proclamation 9645 are not altered by this proclamation, and they remain in force by their terms, except as modified by Proclamation 9723.

(b)  Burma (Myanmar)

(i)  Although Burma has begun to engage with the United States on a variety of identity-management and information-sharing issues, it does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.  Burma does not issue electronic passports nor does it adequately share several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information,  that is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Burma is in the process of modernizing its domestic identity-management and criminal-records systems and has worked with the United States to develop some of those systems.  It has also recognized the need to make improvements.  As its capabilities improve, the prospect for further bilateral cooperation will likely also increase.  Despite these encouraging prospects, Burma’s identified deficiencies create vulnerabilities that terrorists, criminals, and fraudulent entrants could exploit to harm United States national security and public safety. The key charge against Nigeria is that:  ”Nigeria also presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.  Nigeria is an important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism, and the United States continues to engage with Nigeria on these and other issues.”

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Burma as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

(c)  Eritrea

(i)  Eritrea does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.  Eritrea does not issue electronic passports or adequately share several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information, that are necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Further, Eritrea is currently subject to several nonimmigrant visa restrictions.  Eritrea does not accept return of its nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States, which further magnifies the challenges of removing its nationals who have entered with immigrant visas.  Eritrea has engaged with the United States about its deficiencies, but it also requires significant reforms to its border security, travel-document security, and information-sharing infrastructure.  Improvements in these areas will increase its opportunities to come into compliance with the United States Government’s identity-management and information-sharing criteria.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Eritrea as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

(d)  Kyrgyzstan

(i)  Kyrgyzstan does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.  Kyrgyzstan does not issue electronic passports or adequately share several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information, that are necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Kyrgyzstan also presents an elevated risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States, though it has been responsive to United States diplomatic engagement on the need to make improvements.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Kyrgyzstan as immigrants, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, is hereby suspended.

(e)  Nigeria

(i)  Nigeria does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics.  Nigeria does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  Nigeria also presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.  Nigeria is an important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism, and the United States continues to engage with Nigeria on these and other issues.  The Department of State has provided significant assistance to Nigeria as it modernizes its border management capabilities, and the Government of Nigeria recognizes the importance of improving its information sharing with the United States.  Nevertheless, these investments have not yet resulted in sufficient improvements in Nigeria’s information sharing with the United States for border and immigration screening and vetting.

(ii)  *The entry into the United States of nationals of Nigeria as immigrants*, except as Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government, *is hereby suspended*.

(f)  Sudan

(i)  Sudan generally does not comply with our identity-management performance metrics and presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.  Sudan is, however, transitioning to civilian rule, a process which should improve opportunities for cooperation in the future, and it has already made progress in addressing its deficiencies in several areas.  For example, Sudan now issues electronic passports and has improved its coordination with INTERPOL in several respects.  Sudan has also shared exemplars of its passports with the United States and now permanently invalidates lost and stolen passports and fraudulently obtained travel documents.  Because Sudan performed somewhat better than the countries listed earlier in this proclamation and is making important reforms to its system of government, different travel restrictions are warranted.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Sudan as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.

(g)  Tanzania

(i)  Tanzania does not comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics. Tanzania does not adequately share several types of information, including public-safety and terrorism-related information, that is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the United States.  The Government of Tanzania’s significant failures to adequately share information with the United States and other countries about possible Ebola cases in its territory detract from my confidence in its ability to resolve these deficiencies.  Tanzania also presents an elevated risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States.  Tanzania does, however, issue electronic passports for all major passport classes, reports lost and stolen travel documents to INTERPOL at least once a month, and has provided exemplars of its current passports to the United States.  Further, Tanzania does share some information with the United States, although its processes can be slow, overly bureaucratic, and complicated by limited technical capability.  In light of these considerations, different travel restrictions are warranted.

(ii)  The entry into the United States of nationals of Tanzania as Diversity Immigrants, as described in section 203(c) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1153(c), is hereby suspended.

Sec. 2.  Scope and Implementation of Suspensions and Limitations  (a)  Subject to the exceptions set forth in section 3(b) of Proclamation 9645, any waiver under section 3(c) of Proclamation 9645, and any enforcement provision of section 6(b) through (e) of Proclamation 9645, the suspensions of and limitations on entry pursuant to section 1(b) of this proclamation shall apply to foreign nationals of the designated countries who:

(i)    are outside the United States on the applicable effective date of this proclamation;

(ii)   do not have a valid visa on the applicable effective date of this proclamation; and

(iii)  do not qualify for a visa or other valid travel document under section 6(d) of Proclamation 9645.

(b)  The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall coordinate to update guidance, if necessary,  to  implement this proclamation as to nationals of the six countries identified in section 1(b) of this proclamation, consistent with the provisions of this section.

(c)  For purposes of this proclamation, the phrase “Special Immigrants whose eligibility is based on having provided assistance to the United States Government” means those aliens described in section 101(a)(27)(D) through (G) and (K) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(D) through (G) and (K), any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, and any spouse and children of any such individual.

Sec. 3.  Reporting Requirements. 

(a)  Section 4 of Proclamation 9645 is amended to read as follows: Sec. 4. Adjustments to Removal of Suspensions and  Limitations.

“(a)  The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall on October 1, 2020, and annually thereafter, submit to the President the results of an evaluation as to whether to continue, terminate, modify, or supplement any suspensions of, or limitations on, the entry on certain classes of nationals of countries identified in section 2 of this proclamation and section 1(b) of the Proclamation “Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” signed on January 31, 2020.

“(b)  The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall not less than every 2 years evaluate whether each country in the world sufficiently shares relevant information and maintains adequate identity-management and information-sharing practices to mitigate the risk that its citizens or residents may travel to the United States in furtherance of criminal or terrorist objectives, or otherwise seek to violate any law of the United States through travel or immigration.  In doing so, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall:

“(i)   in consultation with the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, report to the President, through the appropriate Assistants to the President, any instance in which, based on a review conducted under subsection (b) of this section, the Secretary of Homeland Security believes it is in the interests of the United States to suspend or limit the entry of certain classes of nationals of a country; and

“(ii)  in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, regularly review and update as necessary the criteria and methodology by which such evaluations are implemented to ensure they continue to protect the national interests of the United States.

“(c)  Notwithstanding the requirements set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, may, at any time, recommend that the President impose, modify, or terminate a suspension or limitation on entry on certain classes of foreign nationals to protect the national interests of the United States.”

(b)  Section 5 of Proclamation 9645 is revoked.

Sec. 4.  Effective Date.   This proclamation is effective at 12:01 am eastern standard time on February 21, 2020.  With respect to the application of those provisions of Proclamation 9645 that are incorporated here through section 2 for countries designated in section 1(b), and that contained their own effective dates, those dates are correspondingly updated to be January 31, 2020, or February 21, 2020, as appropriate.

Sec. 5.  Severability.  It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the national security, foreign policy, and counterterrorism interests of the United States.  Accordingly:

(a)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its other provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and

(b)  if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.

Sec. 6.  General Provisions.   (a)  Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)    United States Government obligations under applicable international agreements;

(ii)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(iii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.

DONALD J. TRUMP

REACTION OF THE CABLE NETWORK NEWS (CNN) TO THE POLICY

REACTING from its Washington studio, the Cable Network News in an analysis notes that: ‘’The latest development comes three years after President Donald Trump — in one of his first moves in office — signed the first travel ban, which caused chaos at airports and eventually landed at the Supreme Court. The announcement also comes at the end of a major week for Trump with the signing of the USMCA  trade deal and expected acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial.

UPDATED BAN SPARKS CONTROVERSY: The updated ban has already sparked controversy over its targeting of African countries with lawmakers and advocates calling the changes discriminatory and without merit. The administration has argued that the travel ban is vital to national security and ensures countries meet US security needs, by requiring a certain level of identity management and information-sharing requirements. In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the third version of the travel ban after the previous iterations were challenged in court.

The current policy restricts entry from seven countries to varying degrees: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea. Restrictions on those countries will remain in place, the official said. Chad was removed from the list last April after the White House said the country improved security measures. Unlike the original ban, the new restrictions only include categories of immigration visa applicants. Specifically, all immigrants from Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria will be banned from the US. However, only green card lotteries will be restricted from Sudan and Tanzania, said a DHS official Friday.

Based on 2018 data, an estimated 12,398 people could be impacted by the new ban, according to the official. The restrictions apply to immigrant visas, but not students, other temporary visitors or refugee processing. The proclamation, signed by President Donald Trump Friday, is expected to take effect at 12:01 am on February 22.

TRAVELLERS ON THEIR WAY TO THE UNITED STATES: “Travelers on their way to the United States will not be denied entry as a result of this proclamation,” said the official. Nationals of the six countries already in the US or those with a valid visa to come to the US will “not be impacted,” the official added. According to the administration, the US decided to focus on immigrant visas for two reasons: these six countries have a “greater prospect” for improvement,  additionally, it is more challenging to deport someone who has emigrated to the US, rather than a tourist or visitor.

The official acknowledged that gaps and vulnerabilities could have an impact on all travelers to the US, but said that “we prioritized the initial focus on those categories that could have the greatest long term challenge.” The administration did “not feel it would be proportionate to impose travel restrictions” on all travelers, the official said.

Immigrant groups derided the expansion of the program.

“The ban should be ended, not expanded. President Trump is doubling down on his signature anti-Muslim policy — and using the ban as a way to put even more of his prejudices into practice by excluding more communities of color,” ACLU’s director of its Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jadwat, responded in a statement.

On a call with reporters Friday afternoon, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colorado, criticized the latest incarnation of the ban in anticipation of its expansion. “It’s pure discrimination and racism,” Jackson Lee said. Neguse said he has a personal connection with the news.

“I’m the son of immigrants. My parents are Eritrean Americans. They were born in Eritrea. They came to the United States as refugees nearly 40 years ago. Their ability to do that offered me and family tremendous freedoms and opportunities,” he said.

Director of Immigration Studies Alex Nowrasteh at the libertarian Cato Institute said there is no national security justification for banning immigrants from these countries.

THE DEVELOPMENT & THE CORONAVIUS OUTBREAK: “The annual chance of being murdered by a foreign-born terrorist from those six countries on US soil is about 1 in 1.9 billion per year,” he said in a statement. The revisions also come as the US is grappling with how to handle the ”coronavirus” outbreak  On Friday, the administration also announced it will deny entry to foreign nationals who have traveled in China in the last 14 days — unrelated to the immigration restrictions.

DHS and other departments evaluate each country’s compliance with the criteria, as well as risk of travel to the US from terrorists and criminals. “We are intrinsically more concerned” about the risk of terrorists traveling to the US, said the official.

The criteria desired by the US includes, electronic passports, reporting of loss or thefts of passports, sharing information to validate travelers and sharing share information on known or suspected terrorists and criminals, the official said.

For example, Burma’s tracking of lost and stolen passports is “behind most of the world” and Eritrea doesn’t meet the threshold for criminal and terrorist information sharing, said the official regarding examples of specific country issues. Although Nigeria does work with the US on counter-terrorism issues, said the official, its identity management capabilities and reporting to Interpol could use “quite a bit of improvement.”

REMOVAL OF RESTRICTIONS: Any country on either ban can have their restrictions removed at any time by fixing the deficiencies, according to the DHS official, pointing to Chad being removed from the list for making improvements on lost and stolen passport reporting and deepened exchange of terrorist information.

In October, CNN reported that Trump administration officials were discussing adding more countries to the travel ban list, two sources said. At the time, fewer than five countries were under consideration, an official said. At one point, seven countries were under consideration. The goal, the official said, is to “bring governments into compliance by using the power of access to the United States.”

OPPOSITION TO RESTRICTIONS: Democratic lawmakers have continued to denounce the ban and pushed back against the administration’s argument that the ban was for national security purposes. Last year, Democrats introduced a bill known as the “No Ban Act” in the House and Senate to overturn the ban, but the measure is not expected to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

Last year, Democrats introduced a bill known as the “No Ban Act” in the House and Senate to overturn the ban, but the measure is not expected to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

  • This story has been updated with additional details of the travel ban. CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Catherine Shoichet contributed to this report.
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