Denham Town declared second ZOSO

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness a short while ago declared that the second zone of special operations (ZOSO) will be in Denham Town, Kingston. Read more

More countries could be listed for harsh US travel restrictions

Friday, September 22, 2017

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WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — More countries could be hit with tough travel restrictions to the United States after the ban on people from six mainly Muslim countries expires from Sunday, Trump administration officials hinted Friday.

White House and Homeland Security officials said that after a 50-day review, they had identified a number of countries that could not or were not willing to meet US standards for identifying potential terror threats.

President Donald Trump, whose initial measures against the six countries were blasted as an effective "Muslim ban," has yet to make a final decision on which nations will make the new list for much-restricted issuance of US visas, they said.

The officials refused to identify the countries or give a number. But they said the new presidential order will implement a "spectrum" of measures that could range from just tougher vetting of applicants -- like demanding access to their cellphones and social media accounts -- to a full, open-ended travel ban.

"Our enemies and our adversaries are dead set on exploiting our defenses to enter our country and we've got to do everything possible to keep nefarious actors out," said Miles Taylor, counsellor to the secretary of homeland security.

"The goal here is not to indefinitely block certain nationals from coming to the United States. The goal is to protect Americans until foreign governments do comply with our standards and no longer pose a risk to the welfare and the security of the United States."

That left the way ahead murky for citizens of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, who have been blocked from obtaining US visas since the ban began at the end of June.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the new list could possibly have eight or nine countries on it, including some if not all of the six currently affected.

The ban -- which initially included Iraq and was accompanied by a 120-day block on all refugees -- sparked a political uproar when Trump announced it on January 27, a week after becoming president. It came after he had repeatedly promised in last year's election to block Muslims from the United States.

The ban was frozen by courts after a weekend of chaos at airports and a barrage of lawsuits by immigration advocates and civil liberties groups.

The administration's stated reason was national security: the need to ensure the six countries have adequate vetting procedures for travellers, to prevent terrorists from entering the country. But critics argued successfully in court that it was unconstitutional because it targeted a single religion.

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