Meeting planners looking for solid ground regarding the Trump administration travel ban may be disheartened to know it has been revised—again. The latest version adds visitors from North Korea and Venezuela, and eliminates Sudan from the banned list. But it does stipulate specific types of travelers banned from the eight nations that are included. As before, the government cites threats to national security posed by letting banned visitors into the country.
The eight nations – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen – will remain on the list “until we are sure that we can conduct proper screening and vetting of those countries’ nationals,” said the White House in a statement.
In reaction, the Supreme Court cancelled a scheduled Oct. 10 hearing on the previous version of the travel ban. The court asked lawyers in the case to address “whether, or to what extent, the proclamation” may render the case moot.
By canceling the arguments, said The New York Times, the court signaled it may never decide the case.
Entry to the United States is suspended for all travelers from North Korea (18 visas had been issued to North Koreans from March to June this year, according to a report from broadcaster Voice of America). Venezuelan immigrants are still permitted entry, but not specific Venezuelan government officials or their immediate family members as business or tourist travelers. President Donald Trump, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week, put both North Korean and Venezuela on his “list of rogue nations.”
Travelers from Iran and Somalia were granted limited entry. In Iran’s case, entry will be permitted for students or Iranians on exchange programs only. Somalians who are not immigrants can enter with enhanced screening and vetting.
Entry for immigrants, business travelers and tourists was banned for citizens of Chad, Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Why Sudan, which is listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, was removed from the banned list was not made public. The U.S. government had promised to look more favorably on nations that have improved travel security and done a better job of reporting lost and stolen passport, according to USA Today, but it was not revealed whether Sudan had taken such steps.
Iraq was on the original banned list issued in January, but was dropped in a revision in March. Travel limitations were not appropriate, the White House said, because of the close cooperative relationship between the U.S. government and the democratically elected government of Iraq.