By Alison Fox
January 13, 2020

More countries may be impacted as the White House reportedly considers an expansion of its controversial travel ban.

According to the Associated Press, the White House has circulated a document, which shows plans to expand the executive order, expected to correspond with the third anniversary of the first one. The discussions also come as tensions between the U.S. and Iran have heated up.

The countries that would be included in the new potential ban are reportedly blacked out on that document.

The plan has yet to be finalized, according to the AP, but a pair of sources told the wire service that seven countries would be added to the list and many of which would be Muslim countries.

In 2017, the Trump administration signed an executive order that banned visas from seven countries, resulting in confusion, people being detained at airports, widespread protests and a legal battle. The original ban covered Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya.

The White House then released a more narrow version of the ban, which was held up by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote.

The current ban that remains in effect includes Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and North Korea, according to the AP. The ban does not allow for immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications from those countries, with the exception of things like students and people who have “significant contacts” in America.

A source told the news service that the expansion could include countries that were originally covered by the ban, but later taken off the list.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined to confirm the new plans to the AP.

“The Travel Ban has been very successful in protecting our Country and raising the security baseline around the world,” Gidley said. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common-sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures -- because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.”

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/Getty Images

The idea of an expanded ban has already angered many, with Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal telling the AP that it will only hinder the U.S.’ relationship with countries around the world.

U.S. Senior Advocate Yael Schacher with the nonprofit Refugees International, called the potential plan “shameful.”

“The news that President Trump is planning to add countries to his travel ban should be heartbreaking to all Americans,” Schacher told the AP. “Thousands of people have been cruelly and unreasonably separated from relatives because of the already existing ban… This is a shameful attempt by the President to misuse his power to expand a ban that principally impacts individuals from the Muslim world.”

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