Advocacy group blasts Trump administration's expansion of travel ban

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- President Donald Trump made good on his promise to expand a travel ban that he says is vital for the country’s national security on Friday, but the expansion immediately drew criticism from those who say his motives are something else entirely.

The White House initiative extends a travel ban that was approved by the courts after a lengthy legal process.

The original countries on that list have majority Muslim populations. The extension includes six additional countries put on the list, citing security lapses that endanger Americans.

But critics distrust the president’s motives.

The original ban was put in place three years ago and included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen but was struck down by the Supreme Court because it did not cite sufficient reasons for keeping people from those countries from entering the U.S.

Only after several revisions and adding Venezuela and North Korea to the list did the courts allow the ban.

Friday’s expansion includes Eritrea, Turkistan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

“Three of these are Muslim majority countries. Two of them are about half Muslim,” CAIR Sacramento Valley attorney Dustin Johnson said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said thousands of American children have been separated from their parents through the previous ban under the guise of national security.

While not labeled a Muslim ban by the White House, CAIR says the president’s actions speak louder than words.

“He campaigned for a Muslim ban and as we know he doesn’t read national security briefings,” CAIR Sacramento Valley Executive Director Basim Elkarra said. “It was a campaign promise to his base and he fulfilled it and he’s continuing the policy.”

Critics also note that four of the countries are from Africa. They say President Trump has used profane and disparaging language to describe people from the continent.

“He is using this new ban to undercut yet another avenue for people of color to come to the U.S.,” Johnson said.

Given the Supreme Court’s ruling that banning entry to the United States based on detailed criteria and national security is legal, CAIR is not counting on the courts to reverse the new ban.

Instead, it is supporting an effort in Congress to pass a bill that would stop what it claims is discriminatory policies.

“We’re just going to continue fighting politically and we’re going to support the No Muslim Ban Act in hopes that can bring some remedy to the situation,” Elkarra told FOX40.

Of course, there is the realization that this is an election year, and a different president could reverse course on travel policy.

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