United States President Donald Trump has added Venezuela, North Korea, and Chad to the list of countries directly affected by a so-called ‘travel ban’, in doing so severely limiting the ability of some people from those countries to enter the US.
The three additions to the list join Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, whose citizens were affected by other bans rolled out earlier this year. Sudan, which was on the original list, is no longer listed.
In the case of Venezuelans, only select government officials are banned. However, heightened security screening, or vetting, may impede other travelers from that country, as well as people looking to immigrate.
The President announced the new measures in a Presidential Proclamation titled ‘Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats.’ The announcement was made via Twitter, Trump’s preferred method, though the full details of the new bans were not squeezed into 140 characters as Trump linked to the official White House website.
The new order is set to take effect on October 18. A previous order, which expired on Sunday, September 24, is set to go before the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments about its constitutionality on October 10.
The original travel restrictions brought in by the US administration were temporary in nature, whereas the most recent version is indefinite. The order allows US officials to assess on a country-by country and case-by-case basis, rather than the blanket ban implemented earlier in the year. The order imposes the most severe restrictions on Syria and North Korea. All citizens from those two countries will be denied visas to enter the US once the proclamation goes into effect.
Further, the addition of non-Muslim-majority countries could address the legal attacks on earlier travel restrictions as discrimination based on religious grounds. However, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, suggested that this covered up what still amounted to a ban that targets a single religious group.
“The fact that Trump has added North Korea – with few visitors to the U.S. – and a few government officials from Venezuela doesn’t obfuscate the real fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban,” said Romero.
The United States is Venezuela’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in goods between the countries having reached $23.9 billion in 2015. More than 320,000 US residents trace their heritage to Venezuela.
More recently, the South American country has descended into political and economic turmoil, with anti-government street protests a daily occurrence. Inflation, unemployment, and crime have all soared.
The US administration’s order states that ‘Venezuela’s government fails to share public-safety and terrorism-related information adequately,’ and consequently ‘the restrictions imposed by this proclamation focus on government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies.’
Further, ‘nationals of Venezuela who are visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.’
Many visitors to North America spend time in more than one country during the course of their visit, whether for business, tourism or other purposes. This may include time spent in Canada, as well as the US.
Current and future visitors to North America should note that their permission to enter Canada is not affected by the US travel ban. The government of Canada places no country-by-country restrictions on visitors, workers, students, and potential immigrants, and assesses applications to come to Canada on the existing regulations, which are generally perceived around the world as being open and welcoming.
A startling example of the differences between the two countries may be seen in how their respective governments responded to cases of displaced Syrians fleeing that country’s ongoing civil war. While the US has now imposed an indefinite blanket ban on all Syrians, last year Canada successfully resettled 46,700 Syrian refugees, while also protecting Canadians’ security by vetting those newcomers.
In addition, for many decades Canada has offered a range of economic and family reunification programs with criteria that do not include assessing a person based on nationality. The federal economic immigration programs are managed under the Express Entry immigration selection system, through which more and more individuals and families are realizing their Canadian immigration goals.
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