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21 Jan, 2020 22:51

Trump’s 2nd travel ban may include Belarus & Myanmar, as well as more Muslim countries

Trump’s 2nd travel ban may include Belarus & Myanmar, as well as more Muslim countries

US President Donald Trump is considering expanding his controversial travel ban to seven more countries, five of which are majority Muslim and two that are not, according to reports citing insider sources in Washington.

Trump, who is currently in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum in Davos, told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he was considering adding more countries to the list, but gave no further details. According to “two people familiar with the matter” who spoke with Politico, however, countries that should brace for restrictions are Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

Currently, entry into the US is restricted to some citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen – all of which are majority Muslim – but also North Korea and Venezuela, which are not. If correct, the expanded list would mirror the ratio, with Belarus and Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – as non-Muslim.

The Trump administration cited security concerns and terrorism threats as the rationale behind the original ban. Iran, North Korea and Venezuela are under strict US sanctions. Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen are affected by war and terrorism.

“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 US 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,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement on Tuesday.

Also on rt.com Still on hold: 9th circuit court rules against Trump’s travel ban

The first travel ban was issued on January 27, 2017, just a week into Trump’s presidency. It would be over 18 months before it could be implemented, however, as it was immediately challenged in federal courts. 

Democrats and immigration activists claimed that it was actually a “Muslim ban” because most of the countries affected have Muslim majorities. In filings to federal judges in California and Hawaii, they claimed that the ban was really motivated by Trump’s campaign call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and therefore amounted to unconstitutional bigotry. The US Supreme Court ultimately disagreed, clearing the path for the ban’s implementation in June 2018.

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