The Surprising New Country on Trump’s Travel Ban
On Sunday, September 24th, President Trump announced the creation of minimum requirements for international cooperation to support immigration vetting and visas. According to the White House, “This is a critical step toward establishing an immigration system that protects Americans’ safety and security in an era of dangerous terrorism and transnational crime.”
For the first time in history, the United States is setting a baseline of standards that the nations must meet in order to immigrate to and visit the United States. These standards include prevention of terrorist attacks, transnational crime, and immigration fraud, updated traveler vetting protocol, and new information sharing requirements. According to the statement released by the White House, “most countries in the world now meet the new baseline,” which was shared with foreign leaders in July.
Countries that currently do not adhere to the new requirements include Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, and — to the surprise of many — Chad and Venezuela. Iraq did not meet the baseline either, but, according to the Department of Homeland Security, entry restrictions for Iranians are not warranted under the September 24th proclamation. Another notable exception is Somalia, which generally satisfies the new requirements, but which the President and Secretary of Homeland Security believe “presents special circumstances that warrant specific restrictions and security enhancements to protect the American people.” Sudan, which was on the previous list of banned countries, is not on the revised list.
Critics speculate that the inclusion of Chad is related a recent Exxon Mobile controversy. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the former head of Exxon Mobile, which The Republic of Chad fined $74 billion — more than five times its GDP — in 2016. The dispute was eventually settled and Exxon Mobile avoided the fine, but critics wonder if Chad’s inclusion in the travel ban is revenge for bad PR. There is little evidence to suggest this is the case.
In addition to releasing the enhanced security measures, the Office of the Press Secretary has put out an FAQ regarding the changes.