When President Trump added Chad last month to his most recent installment of travel restrictions, everyone from the Pentagon to Chad's leaders to the French government was perplexed. The US has praised Chad's cooperation on counterterrorism, especially its campaign against a vicious Boko Haram insurgency spilling over from Nigeria. As it turns out, a seemingly pedestrian issue was largely to blame: Chad had run out of passport paper, reports the AP. Chad and every other country had been given 50 days to prove it was meeting a "baseline" of security conditions the Trump administration says is needed for the US to properly screen potential visitors. One condition was that countries provide a recent sample of its passports so that the Homeland Security Department could analyze how secure they really are.
Lacking the special passport paper, Chad's government couldn't comply, but offered to provide a pre-existing sample of the same type of passport. Homeland Security wouldn’t make an exception, but told Chad it could be removed once the issues were addressed, several US officials said. Homeland Security confirmed that the US "lacks a recent sample from Chad" of its passports, but said there were other problems, too. “Chad does not adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information,” a spokesperson said. Other officials said once the other national security agencies learned of the plan to add Chad, they objected vehemently, but were overruled. Chad remained on the list when a federal judge in Hawaii blocked Trump’s order hours before the new restrictions were to take effect Tuesday.