The U.S. will place restrictions on travel from South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Cyprus, and South Korea, in addition to restricting visas for travel from certain countries to the United States, it said in a statement on Friday.
The restriction on visas is for citizens from the countries for approximately six months. That amount of time is the longest travel ban since President Donald Trump took office.
In the statement, Trump said the order will help protect Americans from terrorists.
“Our travel ban into the United States is needed, and it is effective, to ensure that we do not admit the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” he said. “I have instructed my Administration to take all necessary steps to protect the American people.”
The travel restriction was intended to help the president fulfill his campaign promise to suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days, from March 6 to April 3, as well as the entry of citizens from countries with high rates of corruption, anti-American sentiment, or links to terrorism, the statement said.
The restrictions do not apply to any members of Congress or their families, diplomats, government officials, or the President’s own staff, the State Department said.
South Africa is set to receive $191 million from the U.S. State Department in fiscal 2017, more than any other country, and nearly $145 million in fiscal 2014, according to figures from the South African National Association of Commerce and Industry. That helps the country stay on the path to economic stability, and remains a key trading partner.
South Africa has been making progress in eliminating state corruption in the public sector, while holding police officers to account in a series of public protests in recent weeks, according to reports by Reuters and CNN. But many of the conditions that contributed to U.S. sanctions are still standing.
While some criticized the announcement on Twitter, others praised the order.
“History will be the judge, it will not be swayed by sentiment. There is no moral equivalency between Trump’s core supporters and violent hate-filled extremists. It’s simple, It’s True,” Trevor Noah tweeted.