Myanmar likely to be on Trump’s expanded travel ban list

Brajesh Upadhyay, Washington
Published : 09:45, Jan 28, 2020 | Updated : 11:29, Jan 28, 2020

FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after welcoming Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US Jan 7, 2020. REUTERSPresident Donald Trump is expected to announce this week an expansion of his travel ban that would restrict immigration from seven additional countries including Myanmar, according to multiple reports.
People from the countries covered by the expanded ban will not be barred from entering the United States across the board, but varying levels of travel restrictions will be imposed. It is also likely to have exceptions for refugees and those who already have US green cards or visas.
The seven countries expected to be added to the ban are Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Belarus, according to US media reports.
The administration is yet to announce the details or the reasons why these seven countries have been added to the existing list.
Last week, President Trump said: “You see what’s going on in the world. Our country has to be safe.” He also told the Wall Street Journal that he would make an announcement by the end of the month.
This week also marks the third anniversary of his highly controversial travel ban that targeted several Muslim-majority countries. The ban that is effective now places restrictions on citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea.
Intelligence officials have long argued that the ban does nothing to improve US national security. But the administration has cited terrorist activity, a failure of the countries to properly document their own travelers, and insufficient efforts to cooperate and share information with US authorities as justification for the ban.
A poster supporting Aung San Suu Kyi as she attends a hearing at the International Court of Justice is seen in a road in Yangon, Myanmar, December 12, 2019. REUTERS/File PhotoThe countries under consideration for the expanded travel ban include some that have either had solid relationships with the US, or which the US has courted. The US also currently accepts relatively high numbers of refugees from several of these countries.
Of the 30,000 refugees who resettled in the US from October 2018 to October 2019, 4,932 came from Myanmar, which has engaged in a large-scale ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims since 2017.
It’s believed that in case of Myanmar, the restrictions could apply only to certain government officials, or certain types of visas.
Some countries are expected to be cut out of the diversity visa lottery — a program that randomly allots green cards to nationalities with low levels of immigration to the US.
As the administration plans to announce an expanded ban, Democrats are preparing to vote on a bill that would curb President Trump’s authority to impede travel to the United States.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that Congress intends to address the issue at the earliest.
The measure would allow the president to restrict travel into the United States, but it would require the US government to provide specific evidence of threats to national security or public safety before imposing any restrictions. It would also prohibit discrimination based on religion or national origin.