WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has no plan to ban Pakistani citizens from travelling to the United States because Pakistan is providing the data they need to vet a visitor, US officials confirmed on Tuesday.
In recent briefings to various media outlets, White House officials maintained the administration had no plan to add other countries to the list of seven Muslim countries whose citizens were barred from travelling or migrating to the US.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained that Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon were among the countries which were providing the information needed to scrutinise travellers.
However, he warned that if this cooperation changed, these or other countries could also be added to the list. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, was more categorical in assuring the 40 non-designated Muslim countries that Mr Spicer mentioned in his statement.
‘Importantly, these seven countries are the only countries to which the pause on entry applies. No other countries face such treatment. Nor have any other countries been identified as warranting future inclusion at this time,’ the DHS said in a statement.
Another White House spokesperson told BBC that reports of banning travellers from other countries were just rumours.
‘There’s nothing imminent that I’m aware of,’ the spokesperson added.
Other White House officials said that even the Obama administration had problems with the seven countries now facing the travel ban regarding scrutinising data but a passage in the Jan 27 executive order leaves the option to expand the list open, stirring suspicions across the Muslim world.
‘At any point after submitting the list described in subsection (e) of this section, the secretary of state or the secretary of homeland security may submit to the president the names of any additional countries recommended for similar treatment,’ it said.
But the DHS, while ruling out the possibility of expanding the list in the near future, said the aliens affected by the 90-day pause on travel were also getting “case-by-base exceptions and waivers, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s executive order.
It is relevant to mention that Trump’s executive order barring citizens from seven Muslim countries was put to halt by a Seattle judge.
Trump administration filed an appeal against the verdict, however, the appeal was also dismissed. The matter was likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.