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EXCLUSIVE: U.S. demands nations provide more traveler data or face sanctions
The U.S. State Department will require all nations to provide extensive data to help it vet visa applicants and determine whether a traveler poses a terrorist threat, according to a cable obtained by Reuters.
Countries that fail to comply with the new protocols or take steps to do so within 50 days could face travel sanctions.
Read the cable here:
17 STATE 72000
Jul 12, 2017 / 121619Z JUL 17
From: SECSTATE WASHDC
SOMALIA, USMISSION ROUTINE ;
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE ROUTINE
CVIS, PGOV, PINS, PTER, PREL, CMGT, KCSY, KHLS
A) COUNTRY LISTS AND ADDITIONAL POINTS TRANSMITTED TO CERTAIN POSTS
E-MAIL DATA CALL FOR E.O. 13769 TO ALL POSTS DATED FEBRUARY 3, 2017
Line: CA, POL, ECON, CT WORKING GROUP, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKING GROUP
Demarche Request: E.O 13780 - Improving Information Sharing with Foreign
(U) This is an action request. Please see paragraphs 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12.
(SBU) SUMMARY: In response to Executive Order (EO) 13780, the Secretary of Homeland
Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, has produced a report outlining what information is needed from every country in order to sufficiently vet the nationals of that country in order to obtain a visa, admission at a port of entry, or other immigration benefit. The report, which prioritizes country engagement based on certain risk factors, establishes standards related to (1) identity management and (2) information sharing on security and public safety threats. The report includes a classified list of countries preliminarily assessed as not meeting the standards set out in the report and a list of those at risk of not meeting these standards. The classified country lists and country-specific talking points have been sent septel to impacted posts (ref A).
(SBU) SUMMARY, CONT: This cable initiates a 50-day engagement period, as called for in Section 2(d) of the EO, in which posts must inform host governments of the new information sharing standards and request that host governments provide the requested information or develop a plan to do so.
Additionally, posts should askhost
governments to respond to a series of questions to ensure the accuracy of the
report’s assessment. Posts
engage more intensively with countries the report preliminarily deems
inadequate in their information
or at risk of being deemed inadequate. Where appropriate, discussions should
also include the need to
nationals who are subject to a final order of removal from the United States.
The Department also
posts’ assessment of mitigating factors or specific interests that should be
considered in the deliberations
any travel sanctions. Posts should note that the list of countries deemed
inadequate or at-risk is
and should not be discussed outside of official channels. Talking points will
be available on CAWeb.
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On March 6, the President issued EO 13780 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign
Terrorist Entry into
United States). Soon thereafter, Section 2 of the EO was enjoined by the
courts. Recently, the injunction on
provisions of Section 2 requiring a review of immigration-related information
sharing by foreign
was lifted. This has allowed work to resume on Sections 2(a) and (b) of the EO,
which direct the
of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and Director
to “conduct a worldwide review to identify whether, and if so what, additional
information will be
from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that
country for a visa, admission,
other benefit under the INA (adjudication) in order to determine that the
individual is not a security or publicsafety
The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State
and Director of
Intelligence, is directed to submit a report to the President identifying “the
information needed from
country for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate
information.” This cable
the results of the report submitted to the President on July 10 and provides
posts with guidance to help
governments understand and meet the standards developed in the report, as
called for in Section 2(d) of
EO. For more details on the executive order, please consult the complete text
at the White House website.
(SBU) The report outlines the new standards that all 191 countries are required
to meet for (1) information
on identity management and (2) information sharing on security and public
safety threats. The standards
a mix of long-standing U.S. government goals and standards established by
international bodies such as
United Nations (UN), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and
INTERPOL. The report
that three types of information sharing/cooperation are needed to establish a
traveler’s identity, and
types of information sharing/cooperation are needed to ensure that a traveler
is not a terrorist or public safety
(see para 9). The report also discusses “national security risk indicators”
that helped prioritize countries
engagement. Finally, as required under the EO, the report provides a classified
list of countries that DHS has
assessed as not providing adequate information, as well as countries at risk of
Non-Compliance Could Lead to Sanction
(SBU) Section 2(d) of the Executive Order directs the Secretary of State to
request that all foreign
assessed as not supplying adequate information begin to do so within 50 days of
a credible plan for increased information sharing. Section 2(e) of the
Executive Order instructs the
of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the
Attorney General, following
end of the 50-day period, to submit to the President a list of countries
recommended for inclusion in a
proclamation that would prohibit the entry of designated categories of foreign
nationals of those
that have not provided the information requested or produced an adequate plan
to do so. While the
Order provides for flexibility in assessing countries’ responsiveness, the
intent of the order is to press
to improve their performance. The information that posts collect during this
demarche process will feed
deliberations regarding which states, if any, the Secretary of Homeland
Security will recommend for
in a presidential proclamation.
Engagement with foreign governments should draw on the resources and expertise
of the entire country
Posts are instructed to demarche both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Ministry of Interior (or
at the highest appropriate level with the points provided below, as well as
other ministries as
Posts should request a response from host government counterparts in time to
submit a frontchannel
to the Department by July 21. Posts should also use this demarche to update
and/or clarify any
provided during the February 3, 2017, data call (ref B). Responses should be
slugged for CA/VO,
and L/CA and e-mailed to Matthew Paschke, William McCulla, Abbas Ravjani, and
Joel Nantais, in
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to the country desk representative.
(SBU) The objectives of this demarche are as follows:
· Announce the new standards to all foreign governments and
call for compliance with Executive Order
· Clarify that the standards require information sharing in
support of vetting visa, border, and immigration
Information sharing in support of other objectives that may not be used for
applications will not count toward compliance.
· Inform those governments assessed as not supplying adequate
information, or at risk of being so
that we will work with them as they determine how they can meet the new
· Underscore that while it is not our goal to impose a ban on
immigration benefits, including visas, for
of any country, these standards are designed to mitigate risk and failure to
make progress could
to security measures by the USG, including a presidential proclamation that
would prohibit the entry
certain categories of foreign nationals of non-compliant countries.
(U) Posts may leave these talking points behind, if desired. If-asked press
guidance will be posted on CAWeb.
BEGIN TALKING POINTS
points below are to be delivered to ALL countries]
· In accordance with Executive Order 13780, the Department of
Homeland Security, in consultation with
Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, has established
a new set of standards
the information all foreign governments should share with the U.S. Government
in order to
the U.S. Government to verify the identity of all foreign travelers and
immigration applicants and
that they do not pose a threat to U.S. security or public safety. This is the
first time that the U.S.
is setting standards for the information that is required from all countries
of immigration and traveler vetting. We are asking all countries to look at
areas to better enhance
· The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with
the Secretary of State and the Director of
Intelligence, has established the following standards for identity-related
foreign governments whose nationals seek to travel to the United States:
· Countries should issue, or have active plans to issue,
electronic passports that conform to ICAO
and include a facial biometric image to enable verification of travel
· Countries should regularly report lost and stolen
passports, whether issued or blank, to the
Stolen and Lost Travel Document Database to maintain the integrity of travel
· Countries should make available any other identity information
at the request of the U.S.
as appropriate, additional biographic and biometric data and relevant
· The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with
the Secretary of State and the Director of
Intelligence, has also established the following standards for measuring
to terrorism or public safety threats by foreign governments whose nationals
seek to travel to
· Countries should make available information, including
biographic and biometric data, on
it knows or has reasonable grounds to believe are terrorists, including foreign
through appropriate bilateral or multilateral channels;
· Countries should make available through appropriate
bilateral or multilateral channels criminal
record information, including biographic and biometric data, on its nationals,
as well as
and temporary residents, who are seeking U.S. visas or border or immigration
· Countries should provide exemplars of all passports and
national identity documents they issue to
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U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
including applicable date ranges and numbering sequences, as required, in order
U.S. Government fraud detection capabilities;
· Countries should not impede the transfer to the U.S.
Government of information about passengers
crew traveling to the United States, such as Advance Passenger Information and
· Countries should not designate individuals for
international watchlisting as national security
or criminals solely based on their political or religious beliefs.
· The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with
the Secretary of State and the Director of
Intelligence, also identified three security risk indicators relevant to the
USG’s ability to vet a
nationals for admissibility to the United States:
· Countries should take measures to ensure that they are not
and do not have the potential to
a terrorist safe haven;
· Countries should accept the repatriation of their nationals
who are subject to a final order of
in the United States and provide travel documents to facilitate their removal;
· Visa Waiver Program countries should meet the statutory and
policy requirements of the Visa
· After 50 days, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in
consultation with the Secretary of State and the
General, must submit to the President a list of countries recommended for
inclusion on a
proclamation prohibiting the entry of designated categories of their nationals
do not meet the new standards or have an inadequate plans to do so.
· These standards build upon our existing partnerships with
other countries and multilateral organizations
as ICAO and INTERPOL to increase the reliability of travel documents and the
about known or suspected terrorists and known criminals. They also reinforce UN
Resolutions 1373, 1624, 2178, and 2322, which call on all member states to
cooperate in sharing
on the movements of terrorists and require all states to prevent the movement
of terrorists or
groups through effective border controls and controls on the issuance of
identity papers and
the following point to non-Visa Waiver Program countries]
· We will work with you to assess whether your country
currently meets these standards and, if it does not,
a plan to allow it to do so.
· In order allow us to evaluate fully and accurately whether
your country meets these standards, we are
your help in answering a series of questions. It is critical that you provide
us this information
[a date determined by Post to submit cable by July 21]. Failure to provide this
information in a timely
will require us to assume your country does not meet the standards.
the following points to Visa Waiver Program countries]
· We recognize that many of these new worldwide standards
overlap with those already required by the
Waiver Program (VWP), and wish to highlight that they apply to all forms of
travel and immigration
sought by foreign nationals, and not only to visas for travel.
· The United States seeks to continue and deepen the security
partnerships fostered by the VWP, including
ensuring that our cooperation supports immigration and traveler vetting,
enhances global security, and
the travel of terrorists and criminals. The Department of Homeland Security
would be pleased to
further how our existing cooperation can better achieve this goal.
· The Department of Homeland Security will continue to engage
VWP countries on the requirements set
in the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of
the following point only to countries identified septel A as failing to meet the
set out in the report (Category A countries).]
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· Based on preliminary data, DHS has concerns your country is
not fully meeting the new informationsharing
We urge you to work with us to provide detailed answers to our questions as
to clarify your practices and policies. While we recognize these standards may
be exacting, they
necessary to ensure effective U.S. border and immigration controls. We are
committed to working
you to achieve them and to taking into account your government’s commitment and
the following point only to countries identified septel A as at risk of failing
to meet the
set out in the report (Category B countries).]
· Based on preliminary data, DHS believes your country may be
at risk of not fully meeting the new
standards. While your country is appropriately sharing information in certain
are other areas the United States seeks additional cooperation. We urge you to
work with us to
detailed answers to our questions as soon as possible to clarify your practices
and policies. While
recognize these standards may be exacting, they are necessary to ensure
effective U.S. border and
controls. We are committed to working with you to achieve them and to taking
government’s commitment and effort toward these shared goals.
raised by a non-VWP country that is in neither Category A nor B]
· Our initial review indicated that your country appears to
meet the new information-sharing standards.
we would appreciate your assistance in responding to a series of questions that
will help us
ascertain that you meet or exceed these new standards.
END TALKING POINTS
Leave-Behind Questions for non-VWP Foreign Governments
(SBU) In order to enhance an assessment of whether foreign governments meet the
new baseline standards,
are requested to work with their host country to submit answers to the
following questions. While the
of fully answering these questions is intended to be on the host country, we
urge posts to devote whatever
team resources are needed to ensure the Department receives a timely and
accurate response. Please
that responses accurately reflect the full extent of the host government’s
compliance with these standards.
may leave these questions with the host government after delivering the demarche.
Please note the “Leave-
questions are NOT/NOT to be provided to VWP countries, as DHS regularly
assesses their information
border screening capacity, and document security as part of their participation
in the VWP.
(U) Please submit all responses as an attachment to the front-channel cable
detailing the host government
to the demarche by July 21, using the attached spreadsheet template, on either
the unclassified or
system, as appropriate. Embassies that are responsible for maintaining
relations with more than one
should complete a response for each country.
Identity Information Sharing:
· Are all passports issued by your government
machine-readable? If not, please describe which classes of
are not machine-readable.
· Does your government issue electronic passports that
conform to ICAO specifications and include a
biometric image? (Such passports contain an electronic chip in the passport
cover that contains
related to the passport and its holder.) If yes, does your government issue
such passports as a rule or
to a subset of travelers? If not, does your government have concrete plans to
introduce an electronic
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· Does your government participate in the ICAO electronic
passport Public Key Directory? If your
issues electronic passports but does not participate, please explain why and
describe whether you
plans to do so in the near future.
· Does your government report lost or stolen passports, both
issued and blank, to the INTERPOL Stolen
Lost Travel Document Database? If so, please describe how frequently you report
data. Does your
invalidate documents and the associated document numbers after they are
reported lost or
or do they remain in circulation? Please describe any barriers to your
in this multilateral mechanism.
Terrorism and public safety threat information sharing:
· Does your government regularly provide the U.S. government biographic and/or biometric data on known or suspected terrorists (regardless of citizenship), including foreign fighters? If so, through which channels? Does your government place any restrictions on the use of this information?
· Does your government contribute identities of foreign terrorist fighters and their facilitators who have departed from, arrived in, or transited your territory to the Interpol FTF Fusion Cell?
· Does your government make records of arrests and convictions in your country available to the United States to support border, immigration, and visa vetting? If so, via which process? Does your government place restrictions on the use of such information, such as limiting its use to law enforcement investigations?
· Does your government issue INTERPOL notifications for all wanted terrorists and felons? If so, please describe how frequently and extensively you report data. Does your government restrict the sharing of such notifications with the United States or any other country? If so, please describe.
· Does your government prevent air carriers or vessel operators from releasing information about travelers to the U.S. government?
Questions for Posts
12. (SBU) In order to fully assess foreign governments’ performance, posts in countries that are not/not members of the VWP should provide responses to the following questions, soliciting full country team input and views.
Posts should not/not share these questions with foreign governments in order to obtain their input:
· Provide post’s assessments of the host government’s willingness or capability to meet these new standards, including potential implications for reciprocity or collateral damage to bilateral relations.
· Assess the integrity of the process by which the host government establishes the identity of passport holders and issues travel documents. Please describe any barriers to improving any deficiencies in the process and actions that post takes to mitigate those deficiencies when relying on host country passports.
· Does the host government respond to post’s requests to confirm the identity of its nationals? If not, what are the barriers to such collaboration? If so, please provide examples.
· Is the host government responsive to requests from the U.S. government for criminal information on its citizens and residents? If not, please describe the barriers to such information sharing. If so, please provide examples.
· Does the host government designate individuals for watchlisting as national security threats or criminals because they exercise their political, religious, or other fundamental human rights? If so, how frequently?
· What steps has your host government taken to deny terrorists space in which to operate? Are there ungoverned, under-governed, or ill-governed physical areas in the host country or bureaucratic practices that allow mala fide travelers to use host country passports to travel to the United States? What steps has your host government taken to work with the USG? And what further steps could we could ask the host government to take?
· Assess whether the host government will require capacity
building assistance to meet these new standards and explain whether any such programs are planned or underway.
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(U) The Department appreciates posts’ efforts to provide the requested
information on such short deadlines.
HONG KONG/BEIJING China's state media and the government of Hong Kong lashed out on Sunday at U.S. President Donald Trump's vow to end Hong Kong's special status if Beijing imposes new national security laws on the city, which is bracing for fresh protests.