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Trump plans to expand travel ban to include Myanmar

  • Published at 03:14 pm January 22nd, 2020
USA Travel Ban
Beth Kohn holds up a sign in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California on February 07, 2017 AFP

US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Journal that he was considering adding countries to the travel ban, but declined to state which ones

The Trump administration is planning to add seven countries – Myanmar, Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania - to its travel ban list, US media reports said on Tuesday.

Some countries will face bans only on some visa categories, the Wall Street Journal reported. The list of countries was not final and could yet change, website Politico said.

US President Donald Trump said in an interview with the Journal that he was considering adding countries to the travel ban, but declined to state which ones. 

Politico said an announcement was expected as early as Monday, the third anniversary of Trump's first, controversial travel ban, which was announced without warning on January 27, 2017, days after he took office. That order, which targeted several Muslim-majority countries, sparked outrage, with massive protests across the countries and chaos at airports where passengers were detained.

The move is likely to sour ties between the United States and the countries affected under the expanded ban.

The US has spent the last decade trying to improve ties with the Myanmar, which has embraced partial civilian rule after years of living under a military dictatorship. 

The US still wants to coax Myanmar out of China's orbit, despite the Myanmar military's mass slaughter of Rohingya Muslims, Politico reported.

More than 730,000 Rohingya were forced to flee western Myanmar after a military crackdown that the United Nations and the US has said was executed with “genocidal intent.” China has defended the country on the global stage and is viewed as the biggest obstacle to a prosecution of its leaders at an international war crimes tribunal.

A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on US immigration.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The State Department declined to comment.

Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of US immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

Chad was previously covered under the ban but was removed in April 2018.