White House Revises Travel Ban, Expands Countries

Sep 25, 2017
Originally published on September 25, 2017 7:39 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

President Trump signed a proclamation yesterday that replaces portions of his original travel ban, which lapsed over the weekend. Here's more from NPR's Scott Horsley.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: The controversial travel ban, which the Supreme Court generally allowed to take effect in June, was always supposed to be temporary - a 90-day suspension of travel from six countries to buy time for the administration to review its screening procedures. Over the last three months, the Homeland Security Department has been looking at the information it receives from countries around the world about people seeking to travel to the U.S. The government says it wants to be sure it can verify the identity of those visitors and check their names against local records of criminals and potential terrorists.

Initially, the administration identified 16 countries that either could not or would not provide that information. Under pressure from the U.S., some of those countries improved their information sharing. Others did not. And that forms the basis of the new travel order that President Trump signed yesterday.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: The travel ban - the tougher, the better.

HORSLEY: The new order extends travel restrictions on five of the six original countries - Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Iran - with some modifications. It also bans all travelers from two new countries, North Korea and Chad. It calls for additional screening of visitors from Iraq. And it outlaws visits by government officials from Venezuela and their family members. Unlike the targets of the original travel ban, North Korea and Venezuela are not majority-Muslim nations, which could put the new proclamation on sounder legal footing.

The administration insist religion was never the basis of its original travel ban, although critics often pointed to Trump's campaign call for a, quote, "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the original travel ban October 10. The new order is set to take effect just over a week later. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.