June 21, 2018

Van Hollen Announces New Reporting Requirements on the Trump Travel Ban

Today, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced that he successfully secured language as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act that would ensure that the public has access to information on President Trump’s travel ban, including the number of visa waivers granted to citizens of the banned countries. To date, the administration has provided no transparency about how the ban is being administered. Senator Van Hollen has repeatedly raised concerns about the travel ban, which may violate our Constitution and immigration law.
“The Trump Administration has claimed to the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the American people that their travel ban is not unfairly targeting Muslims and that waivers are being issued on a case-by-case basis – but they have provided virtually no information to validate that claim. Instead, the process has been shrouded in an unusual level of secrecy that raises serious concerns about its legality,” said Senator Van Hollen. “This legislation will help ensure that the public – and particularly those American citizens with family and friends in the banned countries – have the information they deserve.”
The amendment was included as part of the Manager’s Package and passed with strong bipartisan support. The text is below:
Visa Applicants.--- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 90 days until September 30, 2019, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the relevant heads of Federal agencies, shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that describes the implementation of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (“Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats”), including the following information for each designated country: (1) the total number of new visa applicants per month, disaggregated by country and visa category; (2) the total number of visa applicants approved and rejected each month, disaggregated by country and visa category; (3) the total number of pending visa applicants, disaggregated by country and visa category; (4) the total number of visa applicants denied a waiver and granted a waiver under section 3(c) of Presidential Proclamation 9645, disaggregated by country and visa category; and, (5) the complete reports submitted to the President every 180 days under section 4 of Presidential Proclamation 9645.  For the purposes of such report, the term “designated country” refers to the Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Such report shall be submitted in unclassified form, and shall be made publicly available online.