The Trump administration is reportedly seeking to expand the number of countries listed in its travel ban to include Nigeria, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea and Belarus – as reported by several US media outlets on Tuesday.
“We’re adding a couple of countries” to the ban, Trump said when asked about his policy shift at a news conference at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
“We have to be safe. You see what’s going on in the world. Our country has to be safe,” he added.
The move is expected to upend ties between the US and countries affected under the expanded ban.
A senior White House official told Reuters that countries being considered failed to comply with security requirements – including biometrics, information-sharing and counter-terrorism measures – and faced the risk of strict limitations on US immigration.
Trump signed the original version of the travel ban in his first week in office three years ago, a move which triggered confusion and chaos in airports and legal challenges in federal courts.
A third version of the contentious ban was upheld in the Supreme Court barring nearly all travellers or immigrants from majority-Muslim countrie Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia – as well as North Korea and Venezuela.
The ban originally included both Iraq and Sudan, however, those countries were eventually removed from the restrictions.