I ask this because everyone is accusing Trump of banning 7 majority-Muslim countries which were already part of the "Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015" and "Visa Integrity and Security Act of 2016".

Even more specifically, the executive order that Trump signed only names Syria specifically. I also hear that Trump excluded countries of "business interests" like Saudi Arabia, and Qatar among others.

Assuming Trump is truly concerned about terrorism coming in from abroad: how would he go about adding Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to the list, in the same manner that TTPA was extended to include Yemen, Somalia and Sudan during Obama's Administration?

  • He'd add it to the executive order. It's an executive order. He just has to pretty much write it. Ideally, he'd vette it and makes sure it's not going to be challenged in court or by the public in general, but he seems to have no interest in that aspect of things.
    – user1530
    Jan 29, 2017 at 20:13
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    I don't think he can add anything he wants willy nilly. There must be a set of rules to follow or conditions to be met. I highly doubt that "this country is a business interest" is one of those conditions.
    – Jadius5
    Jan 29, 2017 at 20:18
  • No hard-and-fast rules. In fact, the actual authority to create executive orders is a somewhat fuzzy thing as well. There are real concerns of course, in that whatever is written has to be legal in that if a court decides it's not, then it's no longer a valid order. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – user1530
    Jan 29, 2017 at 20:31
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    In researching this question, did you consider the marked difference between people attempting to immigrate from the countries listed by the Executive Order, and those immigrating from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Given the relatively stable governments of the countries excluded, it is possible to apply greater credence to the identifying documents their travelers possess. Jan 29, 2017 at 20:37
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    It likely isn't because you referenced Saudi Arabia. Rather, you've indulged in the "people are asking questions" news articles regarding the countries not included in the EO and Trumps business interests there. While it is a worthwhile conjecture, there is an absence of corroboration to support attacking his intentions, without providing the counter balance that it might be easier to validate the identity of individuals from relatively stable countries. None of the 172 million muslims in India were banned. Jan 29, 2017 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


The travel restriction list is actually a reference to the list of countries that receive special treatment in the context of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). That list, in turn comprises Iran and Syria, plus five other countries that have been designated by either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(Syria is mentioned explicitly because the order suspends the entry of refugees from Syria, and only from Syria, indefinitely.)

Trump can therefore add a country to the list in one of three ways:

  1. Add the country explicitly, by executive order.
  2. Direct the Secretary of State to add the country to the list of countries designated by him for special treatment in connection with the VWP.
  3. Direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to add the country to the list of countries designated by him for special treatment in connection with the VWP.

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