DHS Adds Three Countries to Anti-Terror Travel List
A trip to the US will now be more difficult for those who’ve recently visited Libya, Somalia, or Yemen. Thanks to new anti-terrorist travel restrictions announced Thursday, travelers coming to the US from after spending time in one of these three countries must go through the regular visa process instead of using the waiver program.
The extra precaution “is indicative of the department’s continued focus on the threat of foreign fighters,” The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement announcing the new restrictions.
The Visa Waiver Program, passed in 1986, is a comprehensive security partnership with many of America’s closest allies, and allows citizens from 38 countries entry to the United States for up to 90 days without requiring biometric information and an in-person interview.
In an effort to tighten the laws on who is eligible to travel to the US visa-free, these three countries were added to the list of nations whose travelers require increased scrutiny–Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Sudan. Because of their deep connections to terrorists and terror activities, those who have traveled to any of the listed countries must undergo rigorous checks, but they are not barred from travel altogether.
The DHS did mention a carve-out in the new restrictions for journalists, aid workers, and business travelers visiting Iraq or Iran via a national security loophole Congress wrote into the law. The Obama Administration said the exemptions would be applied on a case-by-case basis for these travelers, but they could potentially qualify for visa-free travel, even if the new restrictions would inhibit such travel.
Republicans were outraged by this and said they rejected this specific exemption to the new law.
Posted in General News