White House Replaces Ban with New Restrictions

The Trump administration announced new restrictions Sunday on visitors from eight countries - an expansion of the pre-existing travel ban that has spurred fierce legal debates over security, immigration and discrimination.

The indefinite restrictions apply to citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.

The restrictions on travel to the United States from Venezuela concern only "government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies" in screening and vetting procedures there, the proclamation reads.

For the last three months, the administration used an executive order to ban foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the USA unless they have a "bona fide" relationship with a person or entity in the country.

The announcement comes on the same day as Mr Trump's temporary travel ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries expires, 90 days after it went into effect.

The new rules will go into effect on October 18, leaving most citizens from the countries indefinitely banned from entering the US.

There are some exceptions for nationals from the eight countries who have "bona fide" connections to the US, though narrower than what was ordered by the Supreme Court in its temporary ruling on the travel ban.

A total of sixteen countries did not comply with the rules at first, officials said, but half worked with the U.S.to improve their information-sharing and security practices.

The original countries were Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

An administration official, briefing reporters on a conference call, acknowledged that the number of North Koreans now traveling to the United States was very low. Citing an attack in London, Trump wrote on Twitter, "The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific - but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!"

"The inclusion of those countries, Venezuela and North Korea, was about the fact that those governments are simply not compliant with our basic security requirements".

"We are taking action today to protect the safety and security of the American people by establishing a minimum security baseline for entry into the United States", Trump said in a statement. "President Trump's original sin of targeting Muslims can not be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list". "My highest obligation is to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and in issuing this new travel order, I am fulfilling that sacred obligation".

But administration officials argue the measure is necessary to keep Americans safe.

"The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies to implement these measures in an orderly manner", Tillerson said. The case now rests in the hands of the Supreme Court.