President Trump on Friday signed the authorization for an expanded travel ban against six countries who have failed to comply with a minimum standard of travel security protocols since 2017.
The countries mentioned in the ban are Burma, Eritrea, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan. Sudan and Tanzania are also included, though at a lower level of sanctions.
The move came after years of negotiations with countries around the world to try and raise the standards for international travel, said Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security.
"The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have been working closely with international partners that have flights originating out of many countries with their final destination in the United States," Higgins said. "There is a minimum standard of security based on three phases of compliance."
The three requirements are:
- The country must have a standardized passport and ID requirement and must track lost or stolen passports.
- The country must share ID data with Interpol and the United States.
- The country must track the travel patterns of its passport holders and share that information with the US when necessary.
The move is borne out of the Trump administration's original travel restrictions, which were incorrectly referred to as a "Muslim ban" by many on the left. But Higgins clarified the new restrictions have nothing to do with the religious beliefs of the countries in question.
"The goal of US policy," he said, "And the president's true wish is that nobody would be added to the travel ban list. They've been trying to get everyone up to the standard for almost 3 years. Every nation knows this is coming. They've had ample opportunity to comply."
There will reportedly be a three-week grace period before the new ban will go into full effect on Feb. 21, in order to give travelers time to work out necessary arrangements.
"The goal is to get people off the list by getting them to comply," Higgins noted. "There is an "offramp" process to get removed from the list. But we must ensure there is a minimum level of security procedures in place because it is our main obligation to protect the homeland and the people of America."