Donald Trump extended his controversial travel ban Sunday to include North Korea and Venezuela, a move critics say intends to mask the religious nature of the restrictions. Chad, a Muslim-majority country, was also added to the list.
Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia remain on the list. Restrictions on Sudanese citizens were removed.
The White House justified the updates, saying the countries added do not adequately cooperate with Washington.
Yet there is almost no net migration to the U.S. from North Korea, while the restrictions on Venezuela apply only to the country’s leaders, not its citizens.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slammed the updated EO Sunday, saying North Korea and Venezuela cannot hide the fact that the administration’s order is still a Muslim ban.
“President Trump’s original sin of targeting Muslims cannot be cured by throwing other countries onto his enemies list,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, said in a statement.
Amnesty International called the update “senseless and cruel,” adding: “Just because the original ban was especially outrageous does not mean we should stand for yet another version of government-sanctioned discrimination.”
Rights organizations are scheduled to challenge the ban in court next month; the Supreme Court was slated to hear oral arguments on Oct.10.
North Korea’s inclusion is part of an escalating feud between Washington and Pyongyang.
On Saturday, North Korea’s foreign minister hit out at Trump’s “rocket man” gibe, telling the U.N. General Assembly that the comments made a nuclear strike against the U.S. inevitable. The official also called Trump “mentally deranged.”
The U.S. responded with a show of force, sending B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam into international airspace over waters east of North Korea. The Pentagon said it was the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) U.S. military aircraft have flown so far this century.