The new restrictions come after Trump said that regime change in Venezuela will come “very, very soon.”
Nine months after Trump introduced a controversial travel ban widely panned as discriminatory and anti-Muslim, the White House has issued new regulations that add North Korea, Chad and Venezuela to the list.
“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump said in a tweet shortly after the proclamation was released.
Speaking earlier on the proposed changes to the ban, the former reality television star earlier told reporters, “The tougher, the better.”
The new travel ban has no stated end date and is indefinite.
The new directive prevents Venezuelan officials involved in state security, law enforcement and migration functions from entering the United States. Immediate family members’ ability to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants on business, tourist and tourist/business visas will also be suspended.
The proclamation names ministries and state bodies involved in “screening and vetting procedures,” including the Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace; the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration; the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps; the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service; and the Ministry of the Popular Power for Foreign Relations.
Those holding diplomatic visas for meetings at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, for example, will be exempt from the ban.
Once the order comes into effect, Venezuelan nationals will also face “appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current.”
The Trump administration provided little detail on why Venezuela was added to the list, claiming the information was “classified” or its divulgence would “cause serious damage to the national security of the United States.”
The proclamation alleges that Caracas has failed to cooperate with U.S. officials “in verifying whether its citizens pose a national security or public safety threats.” Authorities are also accused of failing to “share public safety and terrorism-related information adequately.”
U.S. officials have criticized Caracas for failing to cooperate on anti-drug and “global counterterrorism issues.”
The United States has also accused of Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami. El Aissami has consistently denied the charges and said there was no proof.
The new travel restrictions come amid a broader campaign of aggression against Venezuela.
In the past few months, the Trump administration has imposed a series of financial sanctions against Venezuelan officials, including President Nicolas Maduro and El Aissami, and the state-run oil company PDVSA.
Last week, Trump also said that regime change in Venezuela will come “very, very soon.”
Top photo | A government supporter holds a placard with the universal “No” symbol over a caricature of U.S. President Donald Trump during an anti-imperialist demonstration, in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. In his debut address to the U.N. General Assembly, Trump says the socialist government in Venezuela has brought a once-thriving nation to the “brink of collapse.” Trump accused its President Nicolas Maduro of stealing power from elected representatives to preserve his “disastrous rule.” (AP/Ariana Cubillos)