President Donald Trump is expected to reveal an expansion of his controversial travel ban on Friday, the same day he could be acquitted in his impeachment trial and just days ahead of the president’s annual State of the Union address.
The expected announcement — confirmed by two people familiar with the matter— had initially been planned for this past Monday to coincide with the three-year anniversary of the original order, which restricted travel from several majority-Muslim nations. But the administration was delayed as it responded to the fast-spreading coronavirus, according to an administration official.
One of the changes calls for people coming from Sudan to be barred from the U.S. diversity visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants, two U.S. officials said. One official said it might be possible for some Sudanese to get waivers.
A draft of the updated ban that was being considered also would place immigration restrictions on an additional six countries, but not necessarily completely bar all citizens of those nations from entering the United States. The list of countries that have been considered for new restrictions include Belarus, Myanmar (also known as Burma), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria and Tanzania, according to two people familiar with the matter.
But it’s unclear which other countries will make the final list, or exactly what the new restrictions will entail. As of Thursday, the proposal was still in flux, the officials said.
The White House didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Spokesman Hogan Gidley last week defended the original order in a statement.
“The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world,” he said.
Trump signed the original travel ban just a week into his tenure, creating an immediate flashpoint for his presidency and sparking massive, nationwide protests. The order initially denied visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, though it was later modified as it went through a series of court challenges.
The Supreme Court eventually allowed a third iteration of the order to go into effect. It restricts entry of some citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was removed from the original list.
The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A State Department spokesperson said the department had no announcements to preview.
Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.