Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, accused Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of “grossly inaccurate and irresponsible” rhetoric for claiming that the administration’s updated travel ban affects 350 million people.
“Facts are stubborn. The new travel restrictions do not apply to 350 million people — as some of our critics would lead you to believe. Such statements are grossly inaccurate and irresponsible,” Wolf tweeted out on Sunday, linking to an official statement from Pelosi regarding the administration’s new travel ban rules.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that expands travel restrictions to six new countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The order, which was put in place because these governments were deemed unable to meet certain security standards, adds to the travel restrictions already placed on seven countries — bringing the total number of countries affected to 13.
However, the rules are not a blanket travel ban. Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria, for example, will be restricted from visa applications. Sudan and Tanzania, on the other hand, will be limited on diversity visa applications. An official with the Department of Homeland Security on Friday said roughly 12,400 people will be impacted by the rule, and that estimation does not even include waivers.
In a scathing statement released that same day, Pelosi claimed the travel ban would effect hundreds of millions of foreign nationals.
“The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy,” the California lawmaker said on Friday.
“With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants,” she continued.
Pelosi went on to reiterate plans by House Democrats to block the administration’s travel ban.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are expected to introduce the so-called NO BAN Act to “prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system.” While such a bill could pass the Democratic-controlled House, it faces a grim future in the GOP-run Senate.
The travel ban expansion is expected to take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 22 — 21 days after Trump signed the executive order.
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