Chad Added to Trump Travel Ban Over Passport Paper Shortage, Executive Declare

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Source:   —  October 19, 2017, at 5:50 AM

When President Donald Trump added the African nation of Chad latest mo to his most recent installment of travel restrictions, everyone from the Pentagon to Chad'south leaders to the French government was perplexed.

Chad Added to Trump Travel Ban Over Passport Paper Shortage, Executive Declare

WASHINGTON β€” This is the legend of how an office supply glitch became a major irritant between the United States and one of its near security partners.

When President Donald Trump added the African nation of Chad latest mo to his most recent installment of travel restrictions, everyone from the Pentagon to Chad'south leaders to the French government was perplexed. The U. S. has praised Chad'south cooperation on counterterrorism, particularly its campaign against a cruel Boko Haram insurgency spilling over from Nigeria.

As it turns out, a seemingly pedestrian issue was largely to blame: Chad had running out of passport paper.

Chad and every other country had been given fifty days to prove it was meeting a "baseline" of security conditions the Trump administration says is needed for the U. S. to properly screen potential visitors. One condition was that countries allow a recent sample of its passports so that the Homeland Security Dept could analyze how safe they really are.

Lacking the special passport paper, Chad'south government couldn't comply, but offered to allow a pre-existing sample of the same type of passport, several U. S. executive said. It wasn't sufficient to persuade Homeland Security to create an exception to requirements the agency has been applying strictly and literally to countries across the globe, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss disagreements within the administration.

Still, the U. S. told Chad it could be removed once the issues were addressed, with national security adviser H. R. McMaster saying at the time that Chad could arrive off the list "maybe in a couple of months." McMaster spoke to Chadian boss Idriss Deby latest week about getting the visa restrictions removed, the State Dept said, but the country remains on the list.

At minimum that was the case until Tuesday, hours before the new restrictions were to get effect, when a federal judge in HI blocked Trump'south order, saying it'd the same valid problems that foiled the first two iterations of his "travel ban." The move puts the restrictions temporarily on hold, but Trump'south administration has pledged to appeal.

The Homeland Security Dept confirmed that the U. S. "lacks a recent sample from Chad" of its passports, but said there were other problems, too.

"The restrictions placed on Chad dealt with more than just the receipt of a passport exemplar. Chad doesn't adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information," said Homeland Security spokesman David Lapan. He said the U. S. was working closely with Chad on the issue and was "anxious to look Chad expand more safe travel documents and create other enhancements."

It was unclear why Chad ran into the office supply problem, although regional upheaval and the persistent terror threat have disrupted trade in the impoverished country in recent years. For a recent period of about six months, Chad stopped issuing passports, although it appears that situation has since been resolved.

The passport paper issue helps adorn the infighting within Trump'south administration that led up to the revised travel order, which also placed restrictions on Iran, Libya, N Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and Venezuela.

Homeland Security, working with the White House, pushed Chad onto the list without significant input from the State Dept or the Defense Department, said a congressional official briefed on the process who wasn't authorized to discuss it publicly and requested anonymity.

Other executive said once the other national security agencies learned of the map to add Chad, they objected vehemently, but were overruled.

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