Egypt Independent

Egypt and Saudi not under consideration for travel ban: Secretary of Homeland Security



The Trump administration is not currently considering adding more countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to its travel ban list, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said on Wednesday.

"We are, right now, contemplating no other countries [for travel ban], because even though some of these other countries are questionable, in terms of their internal organization, police, that kind of thing, we're satisfied that most other countries have enough that they can provide the information we're looking for," Kelly said

He said that the countries that were selected for ban were the ones that the United States has no real confidence can help in vetting people who would be entering the US. "Countries that are clearly in disarray," Kelly said.

Trump issued an order January 28 that temporarily banned both Syrian refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia — from entering the United States.

Visa holders from the affected countries had been landing at US airports and then detained and turned away throughout the weekend, while thousands of people protested outside airports like New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Dulles Airport in the Washington, D.C. area.

Trump has come under fire from foreign leaders, the United Nations, and other international organizations that have condemned his administration's measures against refugees and travellers.

A federal district court in Washington recently blocked the order from going into effect nationwide, while it works its way through the courts; several other district courts also blocked aspects of the ban within their own jurisdiction.

As a result, people from the seven countries with valid visas were able to travel to the US again.

Last week, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said in an interview with NBC News' Meet the Press  that the executive order could be extended to other countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

When Priebus was asked why countries that are more "terror-prone" — like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan — than the ones that have been banned, were not added to the list, Priebus replied: "Perhaps other countries need to be added to an executive order going forward. But for now, immediate steps — pulling the Band-Aid off — is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries.”