WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump is considering expanding his controversial travel ban to seven more countries, five of which are majority Muslim and two that are not, according to reports citing insider sources in Washington.
“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 US 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,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement on Tuesday.
The first travel ban was issued on January 27, 2017, just a week into Trump’s presidency. It would be over 18 months before it could be implemented, however, as it was immediately challenged in federal courts.
Democrats and immigration activists claimed that it was actually a “Muslim ban” because most of the countries affected have Muslim majorities. In filings to federal judges in California and Hawaii, they claimed that the ban was really motivated by Trump’s campaign call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” and therefore amounted to unconstitutional bigotry. The US Supreme Court ultimately disagreed, clearing the path for the ban’s implementation in June 2018.