Trump's new travel ban brings anger and angst

Venezuela accuses US of 'psychological terrorism' , Chad baffled by restrictions

WASHINGTON • When United States President Donald Trump announced the latest and most far-reaching version of his travel ban, the White House said it came after exhaustive planning.

It was meant to prevent the confusion his first travel ban created at airports, colleges and technology companies and refugee camps around the world in January. But it has bewildered one affected government and brought accusations of "psychological terrorism" from another.

The White House said, announcing the new policy on Sunday, that it was more narrowly targeted than its precursor.

The first travel ban was blocked by federal judges because it was perceived to discriminate against Muslims; the Trump administration argued it was to thwart terrorism. A revised version of that ban expired on Sunday. The new version, which is to take effect on Oct 18, adds Chad, North Korea and Venezuela to the list of affected countries, and drops Sudan. The other affected countries are Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia.

"This is still a Muslim ban," International Refugee Assistance Project director Becca Heller said.

Different restrictions were imposed on each of the three additions, depending on the threat they are deemed to pose. For Venezuela, the ban applies to only visits by certain government officials and their families, while Somalis are barred from emigrating to the US but not from visiting.

The addition of Chad took the Chadian government by surprise. It has been a long-time US ally in fighting Islamist militants and took part in a French-led effort to root out Islamist militants in Mali in 2013.

The addition of Chad took the Chadian government by surprise. It has been a long-time US ally in fighting Islamist militants and took part in a French-led effort to root out Islamist militants in Mali in 2013.

The government expressed "its incomprehension in the face of the official reasons for this decision, which contrasts with Chad's constant efforts and commitments in the fight against terrorism". The government said it does not want to resort to a similar ban on Americans travelling to Chad.

The US State Department reported last year that few Chadians join terrorist groups, but a financial crisis kept the country from consistently paying police and military salaries, which presented some risk.

Somali-Americans in the US voiced wariness of an administration that has frightened them from the start. Some Somali-Americans have been recruited by Islamic extremist groups abroad but, in Minneapolis-St Paul, Mr Jamal Hassen, 23, said it was unfair that all Somalis must pay the price. "We are getting punished for what they did," he said.

It was not immediately clear what led to a special carve-out that permits Iranian students, but not most other Iranians, to continue to obtain visas to travel to the US.

"My understanding is that our families will not be allowed to enter the US for a visit," Mr Pedram Gharghabi, 31, said. Because many Iranian students' visas are single-entry and do not permit the students to leave and come back, he said, "that means we may not meet our families for years".

Venezuela accused the US on Monday of "psychological terrorism" designed to bring down the government after it was included in the list. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza described Mr Trump as acting like "the world's emperor". He told the United Nations General Assembly that Venezuela would seek dialogue with Washington to "stop the madness and irrationality".

NYTIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Trump's new travel ban brings anger and angst'. Print Edition | Subscribe