President Trump is considering extending the US travel ban to another seven countries, most of which have mainly Muslim populations.
However, the names of the countries involved were removed from a report seen by the Associated Press.
The current ban, introduced three years ago, restricts travellers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen North Korea and Venezuela entering the US. A different person said the expansion could include several countries that were covered in the first iteration of Trump’s ban, but later removed amid rounds of contentious litigation. Iraq, Sudan and Chad, for instance, had originally been affected by the order, which the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 vote after the administration released a watered-down version intended to withstand legal scrutiny.
The US Department of Homeland Security recently conducted a global review of security and ‘identity management’ for scores of countries.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley would not confirm plans for expanding the travel ban but said the original ban has help keep the country safer.
“The Travel Ban has been very successful in protecting our Country and raising the security baseline around the world,” he said in a statement. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common-sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”
“Common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in US immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counterterrorism measures,” he said.
Quoting unnamed sources, the Associated Press said an announcement on a potential expansion of the travel ban could come on the third anniversary of the original 2017 executive order on January 27.
That sudden announcement led to chaos at airports with unsuspecting travellers detained and mass protests, as well as months of legal proceedings.