U.S. President Donald Trump has signed a new proclamation that will place restrictions on travelers from Chad, North Korea, Venezuela and five other countries that were targeted by his expiring travel ban.
The proclamation was signed on Sunday and will go into effect on October 18, replacing his controversial temporary ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. The ban, which was set to expire on Sunday, had restricted citizens from Somalia, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, and Yemen from entering the U.S. unless they had a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The Associated Press reported on Monday that citizens from Sudan will no longer be subjected to travel restrictions, but citizens from the five other countries covered by the expiring travel ban will continue to face travel restrictions.
Citizens from the affected countries who do have a “bona fide relationship” with the U.S., such as a family member who is a U.S. citizen, can still apply for visas until October 18. Those who already hold valid visas will not be affected by the restrictions.
According to CNN, the order will suspend entry to Chadians seeking to enter the U.S. as immigrants and nonimmigrants “on some business and tourist visas.” Citizens from Libya and Yemen will face the same restrictions.
The proclamation will also suspend immigrant visas for Somali nationals. Nonimmigrants from Somalia will be permitted to travel to the U.S. but will face “enhanced screening and vetting requirements.”
The issuing of both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for citizens of North Korea and Syria will be suspended.
Certain Venezuelan government employees and their immediate family members will be restricted from entering the U.S., leaving most Venezuelans unaffected by the new proclamation.
Iranian citizens will be eligible for certain student and cultural exchange visas while immigrant visas will be suspended.
Unlike the previous ban, the new proclamation will permit consular offices to waive travel restrictions on a “case-by-case basis.” For the restriction to be waived, a foreign national must prove that he or she is not a threat to national security and would face “undue hardship” if denied entry to the U.S.
Perhaps the most notable country affected by the new restrictions is Chad, a Central African country with a reasonably close relationship with the U.S.
According to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), “Relations between the United States and Chad are good.”
In February 2017, AFRICOM held a military training program in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
“It’s a head-scratcher and also strange for diplomatic reasons,” Michael Shurkin, a political analyst at RAND Corporation, told NBC news. “In terms of security, Chad is actually relatively capable.”
NBC News reported that the U.S. recently opened a £225 million embassy in the N’Djamena.
The White House’s explanation for including Chad on the list was that “Chad does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information and fails to satisfy at least one key risk criterion.” President Trump also cited the presence of terrorist groups, including Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), in Chad.
However, Chad is not unique in this regard, raising questions as to why it was singled out in the proclamation.
Speaking with NBC News, former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell ascribed the decision to the White House’s incompetence.
“I think it’s a matter of incompetence. Here you have a country that in terms of the most important political issue in Africa, terrorism, is on the right side. It is one of the poorest countries in the area,” Mr. Campbell said.
“American airports are not overwhelmed by Chadians arriving. You put this all together and I fall back on incompetence.”