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US to add more countries to travel ban

The United States is moving to add more countries to its travel ban list, US President Donald Trump says.

"You see what's going on in the world, our country has to be safe," he told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.

A source familiar with the draft proposal said the tentative list of nations included Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

The move could dampen relations between the United States and the countries affected under the expanded ban.

Nigeria, for example, Africa's largest economy and most populous country, is a US anti-terrorism partner and has a large diaspora residing in the United States.

A senior Trump administration official said that countries that failed to comply with security requirements, including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures, faced the risk of limitations on US immigration.

Officials from the White House, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have declined to comment on the planned expansion of the travel ban.

Under the current version of the ban, citizens of Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as some Venezuelan officials and their relatives are blocked from obtaining a large range of US immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

The news broke as AP reported that the Trump administration would introduce new visa restrictions aimed at stamping out "birth tourism," in which women travel to the US to give birth so their children can have a coveted US passport.

Visa applicants deemed by consular officers to be coming to the US primarily to give birth will now be treated like other foreigners coming to the US for medical treatment, according to State Department guidance sent on Wednesday and viewed by The Associated Press.

The applicants will have to prove they are coming for medical treatment and they have the money to pay for it.

The State Department planned to publicise the rules on Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The rules will take effect on Friday.

© AP 2020