Seven countries are currently on the US list for immigration restrictions, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. However there are clear indications from Trump’s chief of staff that other countries could get added to the list. Reince Preibus said on CBS News on Sunday:
“The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country. …… Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries,”
These seven countries covered by Trump’s order are also included in a list of countries labeled as specially designated countries (SDCs) that “have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members.” This list – held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) consists – it is thought – of 35 countries. The list as of 2011 is still available. However, Barack Obama apparently added Israel to this list but his list was later scrubbed from public view.
While the immigration restrictions are temporary, ostensibly to check screening processes, since these 7 countries are “failed states” and cannot provide sufficient information, government to government, further countries from the list may also be subjected to temporary restrictions. I suspect that this is why Saudi Arabia is not on the list. The government there is fully functioning and has probably promised the US information about travellers. (Much of the support for Saudi support for Sunni, terrorist groups, is from non-governmental sources). Pakistan does not always provide information about terrorists which it has – especially if this is Taliban or Kashmir related. It would not be surprising to see immigration from Pakistan also being subjected to restrictions.
These are countries that harbor and train terrorists. These are countries that we want to know who is coming and going in and out of to prevent calamities from happening in this country.
……….. He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbor terrorists. And I can’t imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it’s unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States.
ICE List of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that Promote or Protect Terrorists
July 2, 2011
Screening Aliens From Specially Designated Countries
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a report in May 2011 titled “Supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk” that details Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention and supervision of aliens. The report includes a list of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that are said to “promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members”. The report states that ICE uses a Third Agency Check (TAC) to screen aliens from specially designated countries (SDCs) that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members and that the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien. ICE’s policy requires officers to conduct TAC screenings only for aliens from SDCs if the aliens are in ICE custody.
According to the report, ICE provided this list of specially designated countries. ICE policy requires officers to perform a TAC for detained aliens from these countries.
- Territories of Gaza West Bank
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates