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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:


    MRN:
    17 STATE 72000

    Date/DTG:
    Jul 12, 2017 / 121619Z JUL 17

    From: SECSTATE WASHDC

    Action:
    SOMALIA, USMISSION ROUTINE ;

    ALL
    DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE ROUTINE

    E.O.:
    13526

    TAGS:
    CVIS, PGOV, PINS, PTER, PREL, CMGT, KCSY, KHLS

    Captions:
    SENSITIVE

    Reference:
    A) COUNTRY LISTS AND ADDITIONAL POINTS TRANSMITTED TO CERTAIN POSTS

    BY
    REGIONAL BUREAUS

    B)
    E-MAIL DATA CALL FOR E.
    O. 13769 TO ALL POSTS DATED FEBRUARY 3, 2017

    Pass
    Line: CA, POL, ECON, CT WORKING GROUP, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WORKING GROUP

    Subject:
    Demarche Request: E.O 13780 - Improving Information Sharing with Foreign
    Governments

    1.
    (U) This is an action request.
    Please see paragraphs 7, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

    2.
    (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).

    3.
    (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

    should
    engage more intensively with countries the report preliminarily deems
    inadequate in their information

    sharing
    or at risk of being deemed inadequate. Where appropriate, discussions should
    also include the need to

    repatriate
    nationals who are subject to a final order of removal from the United States.
    The Department also

    requests
    posts’ assessment of mitigating factors or specific interests that should be
    considered in the deliberations

    regarding
    any travel sanctions. Posts should note that the list of countries deemed
    inadequate or at-risk is

    classified
    and should not be discussed outside of official channels.
    Talking points will
    be available on CAWeb.

    END
    SUMMARY.

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    Page
    1 of 7

    (U)
    Background

    4. (SBU)
    On March 6, the President issued EO 13780 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign
    Terrorist Entry into

    the
    United States).
    Soon thereafter, Section 2 of the EO was enjoined by the
    courts.
    Recently, the injunction on

    the
    provisions of Section 2 requiring a review of immigration-related information
    sharing by foreign

    governments
    was lifted. This has allowed work to resume on Sections 2(a) and (b) of the EO,
    which direct the

    Secretary
    of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and Director
    of National

    Intelligence,
    to “conduct a worldwide review to identify whether, and if so what, additional
    information will be

    needed
    from each foreign country to adjudicate an application by a national of that
    country for a visa, admission,

    or
    other benefit under the INA (adjudication) in order to determine that the
    individual is not a security or publicsafety

    threat.”
    The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State
    and Director of

    National
    Intelligence, is directed to submit a report to the President identifying “the
    information needed from

    each
    country for adjudications and a list of countries that do not provide adequate
    information.” This cable

    outlines
    the results of the report submitted to the President on July 10 and provides
    posts with guidance to help

    foreign
    governments understand and meet the standards developed in the report, as
    called for in Section 2(d) of

    the
    EO.
    For more details on the executive order, please consult the complete text
    at the White House website.

    (U)
    New Standards

    5.
    (SBU) The report outlines the new standards that all 191 countries are required
    to meet for (1) information

    sharing
    on identity management and (2) information sharing on security and public
    safety threats. The standards

    reflect
    a mix of long-standing U.
    S. government goals and standards established by
    international bodies such as

    the
    United Nations (UN), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and
    INTERPOL. The report

    concluded
    that three types of information sharing/cooperation are needed to establish a
    traveler’s identity, and

    four
    types of information sharing/cooperation are needed to ensure that a traveler
    is not a terrorist or public safety

    threat
    (see para 9). The report also discusses “national security risk indicators”
    that helped prioritize countries

    for
    engagement. Finally, as required under the EO, the report provides a classified
    list of countries that DHS has

    preliminarily
    assessed as not providing adequate information, as well as countries at risk of
    not providing

    adequate
    information.

    (U)
    Non-Compliance Could Lead to Sanction

    6.
    (SBU) Section 2(d) of the Executive Order directs the Secretary of State to
    request that all foreign

    governments
    assessed as not supplying adequate information begin to do so within 50 days of
    notification or

    develop
    a credible plan for increased information sharing. Section 2(e) of the
    Executive Order instructs the

    Secretary
    of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the
    Attorney General, following

    the
    end of the 50-day period, to submit to the President a list of countries
    recommended for inclusion in a

    presidential
    proclamation that would prohibit the entry of designated categories of foreign
    nationals of those

    countries
    that have not provided the information requested or produced an adequate plan
    to do so. While the

    Executive
    Order provides for flexibility in assessing countries’ responsiveness, the
    intent of the order is to press

    countries
    to improve their performance. The information that posts collect during this
    demarche process will feed

    into
    deliberations regarding which states, if any, the Secretary of Homeland
    Security will recommend for

    inclusion
    in a presidential proclamation.

    (U)
    Demarche Objectives

    7. (SBU)
    Engagement with foreign governments should draw on the resources and expertise
    of the entire country

    team.
    Posts are instructed to demarche both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
    Ministry of Interior (or

    equivalents)
    at the highest appropriate level with the points provided below, as well as
    other ministries as

    appropriate.
    Posts should request a response from host government counterparts in time to
    submit a frontchannel

    cable
    to the Department by July 21. Posts should also use this demarche to update
    and/or clarify any

    information
    provided during the February 3, 2017, data call (ref B). Responses should be
    slugged for CA/VO,

    CT/TSI,
    and L/CA and e-mailed to Matthew Paschke, William McCulla, Abbas Ravjani, and
    Joel Nantais, in

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    Page
    2 of 7

    addition
    to the country desk representative.

    8.
    (SBU) The objectives of this demarche are as follows:

    · Announce the new standards to all foreign governments and
    call for compliance with Executive Order

    13780.

    · Clarify that the standards require information sharing in
    support of vetting visa, border, and immigration

    applications.
    Information sharing in support of other objectives that may not be used for
    adjudicating

    immigration-related
    applications will not count toward compliance.

    · Inform those governments assessed as not supplying adequate
    information, or at risk of being so

    assessed,
    that we will work with them as they determine how they can meet the new
    baseline standards.

    · Underscore that while it is not our goal to impose a ban on
    immigration benefits, including visas, for

    citizens
    of any country, these standards are designed to mitigate risk and failure to
    make progress could

    lead
    to security measures by the USG, including a presidential proclamation that
    would prohibit the entry

    of
    certain categories of foreign nationals of non-compliant countries.

    9.
    (U) Posts may leave these talking points behind, if desired.
    If-asked press
    guidance will be posted on CAWeb.

    (U)
    BEGIN TALKING POINTS

    [The
    points below are to be delivered to ALL countries]

    · In accordance with Executive Order 13780, the Department of
    Homeland Security, in consultation with

    the
    Department of State and the Director of National Intelligence, has established
    a new set of standards

    regarding
    the information all foreign governments should share with the U.
    S. Government
    in order to

    allow
    the U.
    S. Government to verify the identity of all foreign travelers and
    immigration applicants and

    ascertain
    that they do not pose a threat to U.
    S. security or public safety. This is the
    first time that the U.
    S.

    Government
    is setting standards for the information that is required from all countries
    specifically in

    support
    of immigration and traveler vetting. We are asking all countries to look at
    areas to better enhance

    our
    collective security.

    · The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with
    the Secretary of State and the Director of

    National
    Intelligence, has established the following standards for identity-related
    information-sharing

    by
    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

    specifications
    and include a facial biometric image to enable verification of travel
    documents;

    · Countries should regularly report lost and stolen
    passports, whether issued or blank, to the

    INTERPOL
    Stolen and Lost Travel Document Database to maintain the integrity of travel

    documents;
    and

    · Countries should make available any other identity information
    at the request of the U.
    S.

    including,
    as appropriate, additional biographic and biometric data and relevant
    immigration

    status.

    · The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with
    the Secretary of State and the Director of

    National
    Intelligence, has also established the following standards for measuring
    information-sharing

    related
    to terrorism or public safety threats by foreign governments whose nationals
    seek to travel to

    the
    United States:

    · Countries should make available information, including
    biographic and biometric data, on

    individuals
    it knows or has reasonable grounds to believe are terrorists, including foreign
    terrorist

    fighters,
    through appropriate bilateral or multilateral channels;

    · Countries should make available through appropriate
    bilateral or multilateral channels criminal

    history
    record information, including biographic and biometric data, on its nationals,
    as well as

    permanent
    and temporary residents, who are seeking U.
    S. visas or border or immigration
    benefits;

    · Countries should provide exemplars of all passports and
    national identity documents they issue to

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    Page
    3 of 7

    the
    U.
    S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Forensic

    Laboratory,
    including applicable date ranges and numbering sequences, as required, in order
    to

    improve
    U.
    S. Government fraud detection capabilities;

    · Countries should not impede the transfer to the U.S.
    Government of information about passengers

    and
    crew traveling to the United States, such as Advance Passenger Information and
    Passenger

    Name
    Records; and

    · Countries should not designate individuals for
    international watchlisting as national security

    threats
    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

    National
    Intelligence, also identified three security risk indicators relevant to the
    USG’s ability to vet a

    country’s
    nationals for admissibility to the United States:

    · Countries should take measures to ensure that they are not
    and do not have the potential to

    become
    a terrorist safe haven;

    · Countries should accept the repatriation of their nationals
    who are subject to a final order of

    removal
    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

    Waiver
    Program.

    · After 50 days, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in
    consultation with the Secretary of State and the

    Attorney
    General, must submit to the President a list of countries recommended for
    inclusion on a

    presidential
    proclamation prohibiting the entry of designated categories of their nationals
    because those

    countries
    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

    such
    as ICAO and INTERPOL to increase the reliability of travel documents and the
    sharing of

    information
    about known or suspected terrorists and known criminals. They also reinforce UN
    Security

    Council
    Resolutions 1373, 1624, 2178, and 2322, which call on all member states to
    cooperate in sharing

    information
    on the movements of terrorists and require all states to prevent the movement
    of terrorists or

    terrorists
    groups through effective border controls and controls on the issuance of
    identity papers and

    travel
    documents.

    [Deliver
    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,

    design
    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

    requesting
    your help in answering a series of questions. It is critical that you provide
    us this information

    by
    [a date determined by Post to submit cable by July 21]. Failure to provide this
    information in a timely

    manner
    will require us to assume your country does not meet the standards.

    [Deliver
    the following points to Visa Waiver Program countries]

    · We recognize that many of these new worldwide standards
    overlap with those already required by the

    Visa
    Waiver Program (VWP), and wish to highlight that they apply to all forms of
    travel and immigration

    benefits
    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

    by
    ensuring that our cooperation supports immigration and traveler vetting,
    enhances global security, and

    impedes
    the travel of terrorists and criminals. The Department of Homeland Security
    would be pleased to

    discuss
    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

    forth
    in the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of
    2015.”

    [Deliver
    the following point only to countries identified septel A as failing to meet the
    information

    standards
    set out in the report (Category A countries).]

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    Page
    4 of 7

    · Based on preliminary data, DHS has concerns your country is
    not fully meeting the new informationsharing

    standards.
    We urge you to work with us to provide detailed answers to our questions as
    soon as

    possible
    to clarify your practices and policies. While we recognize these standards may
    be exacting, they

    are
    necessary to ensure effective U.
    S. border and immigration controls. We are
    committed to working

    with
    you to achieve them and to taking into account your government’s commitment and
    effort toward

    these
    shared goals.

    [Deliver
    the following point only to countries identified septel A as at risk of failing
    to meet the

    standards
    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

    information-sharing
    standards. While your country is appropriately sharing information in certain
    areas,

    there
    are other areas the United States seeks additional cooperation. We urge you to
    work with us to

    provide
    detailed answers to our questions as soon as possible to clarify your practices
    and policies. While

    we
    recognize these standards may be exacting, they are necessary to ensure
    effective U.
    S. border and

    immigration
    controls. We are committed to working with you to achieve them and to taking
    into account

    your
    government’s commitment and effort toward these shared goals.

    [If
    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.

    However,
    we would appreciate your assistance in responding to a series of questions that
    will help us

    definitively
    ascertain that you meet or exceed these new standards.

    (U)
    END TALKING POINTS

    (U)
    Leave-Behind Questions for non-VWP Foreign Governments

    10.
    (SBU) In order to enhance an assessment of whether foreign governments meet the
    new baseline standards,

    posts
    are requested to work with their host country to submit answers to the
    following questions. While the

    burden
    of fully answering these questions is intended to be on the host country, we
    urge posts to devote whatever

    country
    team resources are needed to ensure the Department receives a timely and
    accurate response. Please

    ensure
    that responses accurately reflect the full extent of the host government’s
    compliance with these standards.

    Posts
    may leave these questions with the host government after delivering the demarche.
    Please note the “Leave-

    Behind”
    questions are NOT/NOT to be provided to VWP countries, as DHS regularly
    assesses their information

    sharing,
    border screening capacity, and document security as part of their participation
    in the VWP.

    11.
    (U) Please submit all responses as an attachment to the front-channel cable
    detailing the host government

    response
    to the demarche by July 21, using the attached spreadsheet template, on either
    the unclassified or

    classified
    system, as appropriate. Embassies that are responsible for maintaining
    relations with more than one

    country
    should complete a response for each country.

    (U)
    BEGIN QUESTIONNAIRE

    A.
    Identity Information Sharing:

    · Are all passports issued by your government
    machine-readable? If not, please describe which classes of

    passport
    are not machine-readable.

    · Does your government issue electronic passports that
    conform to ICAO specifications and include a

    facial
    biometric image? (Such passports contain an electronic chip in the passport
    cover that contains

    data
    related to the passport and its holder.) If yes, does your government issue
    such passports as a rule or

    only
    to a subset of travelers? If not, does your government have concrete plans to
    introduce an electronic

    Page
    5 of 7

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    passport?

    · Does your government participate in the ICAO electronic
    passport Public Key Directory? If your

    country
    issues electronic passports but does not participate, please explain why and
    describe whether you

    have
    plans to do so in the near future.

    · Does your government report lost or stolen passports, both
    issued and blank, to the INTERPOL Stolen

    and
    Lost Travel Document Database? If so, please describe how frequently you report
    data. Does your

    government
    invalidate documents and the associated document numbers after they are
    reported lost or

    stolen
    or do they remain in circulation? Please describe any barriers to your
    government’s active

    participation
    in this multilateral mechanism.

    B.
    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?

    (U)
    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.

    Page
    6 of 7

    CLASSIFICATION:
    UNCLASSIFIED

    13.
    (U) The Department appreciates posts’ efforts to provide the requested
    information on such short deadlines.

    MINIMIZE
    CONSIDERED

    Signature:
    Tillerson

    by elizabeth.culliford edited by Canice Leung 7/13/2017 6:39:43 PM
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