Since coming into power, President Donald Trump has continued to expand the travel ban. The move is to curb the growing immigration into the United States. According to officials, the new measures are due to the failure of the countries to meet US security and information-sharing standards. African countries on the new travel ban list are Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania. President Donald Trump first introduced a travel ban in 2017. However, the majority of the affected nations were Muslim majorities. Speaking to reporters on Friday, January 31st, acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf said,
“These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful but for a variety of different reasons simply failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out.”
There are concerns that the new travel ban is an expansion of Trump’s clampdown on countries with a significant Muslim population. The majority of Sudan and the Kyrgyzstan population are Muslims. However, in Eritrea and Nigeria, about fifty percent of the population are Muslims. Also, Tanzania has a sizable Muslim community.
In an article about the ban, Time reported that “Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee ‘to study and address the updated U.S. requirements’ according to presidential spokesman Femi Adesina.”
What The Ban Really Means
Other countries on the new travel ban list are Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan. Consequently, the US will suspend the issuance of visas that will lead to permanent residency to citizens on the ban list. Also, Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be able to apply for ‘diversity visas’. Diversity visa is available by lottery for countries with low immigration rates to the US.
Statistics from the US government shows the State Department issued over 8,000 immigration visas to Nigerians in 2018. This is larger than the combined number of visas issued to other nations on the new list. In the same year, about 2,000 visas were issued to Sudan nationals, 290 to Tanzania, and 31 to Eritrea. The new addition brings the total number of countries on the US travel ban list to 13. The new regulation will take effect from February 22, 2020.
Immigrants who obtain visas before the travel ban takes effect will still be able to travel to the United States. The ban will not affect nonimmigrant visas. This includes visas for temporary workers, students as well as visas for potential employees with specialized skills. However, immigrants have the option of applying for waivers from the restrictions. According to the administration, waivers are only for people that will suffer undue hardship if denied entry in the United States. However, people criticize the entire waiver process as not transparent.
Reaction to Donald Trump’s Travel Ban Expansion
With the 2020 elections drawing closer, it seems Trump is using travel ban and cut in the admission of refugees to rally supporters. Inasmuch as Sudan has transitioned from military to civilian-run government, officials say they are still a state sponsor of terrorism. Regarding Nigeria, officials cited an elevation of risk. However, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said,
“It would be quite unfortunate if for any reason Nigeria was on the list. It would be double jeopardy. The country has committed a lot of resources to fight terrorism. Any travel ban cannot but be inimical to the growth of the country.”
Not everyone is in support of the travel ban in the United States. Democrats remain one of the major opposition to the ban and its expansion. Reacting to the new ban, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said,
“President Trump and his administration’s continued disdain for our nation’s national security and our founding ideals of liberty and justice… dishonor our proud immigrant heritage and the diversity that strengthens and enriches our communities.”
Other Reactions on Twitter
Trump adds countries to the travel ban, yet the us has military bases in those countries, ironic innit? https://t.co/9ZbDFgNeNN
— Pala (@Pala50090731) February 2, 2020
This is how authoritarianism wears you down:
* Trump announced his Muslim Ban – we showed up at airports to protest.
* Trump renames it a travel ban for 7 countries. The Supreme Court upholds it.
* He adds 6 more countries to the ban today, and people barely notice.
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) January 31, 2020
You know what country isn’t on the ban? Saudi Arabia. 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Also, a Saudio national killed 3 people at Pensecola. Explain that one, Republicans? “Trump Administration Adds Six More Countries to Travel Ban” https://t.co/zGila8Pi1i
— Wajahat “Shaped by the American Coastland” Ali (@WajahatAli) January 31, 2020
Really annoyed that people keep countering the travel ban with “Nigeria being the most educated immigrant groups”.
Human beings deserve to travel and migrate. FULL STOP. Stop appealing to white supremacy.
Literally the U.S. passport allows you to go anywhere in the world
— Nnenna (@theAfroLegalise) February 1, 2020
Is America the only country in the world that without which humans can’t survive. Its time our leaders believe in their country. An example is that of @RwandaGov . Travel ban list does not hinder the growth of our beloved country. God bless Nigeria.
— Sir Genius (@Aluta_milo) February 2, 2020
Travel Ban Coming on the Heels of New Rules to Deter Birth Tourism
The new travel ban is coming barely a week after the US Department of State unveiled new rules to tackle the practice of women coming to the United States to give birth. The policy which took effect on Friday 24th January 2020 is a crackdown on ‘birth tourism’. Under the new rule, pregnant women will go through more scrutiny. Officials say they will need to prove they have other reasons for applying for US visitor visas besides giving birth on US soil. According to the Department of State,
“The final rule addresses concerns about the attendant risks of this activity to national security and law enforcement. [This includes] criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry, as reflected in federal prosecutions of individuals and entities involved in that industry.”
There is no clear record of the number of babies born to US visitors annually. However, different groups have come up with estimates. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2017 figure for children born on temporary tourist visas was about 10,000. However, the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws says the figure between the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 was about 33,000.
No doubt, the poor health systems in some African nations force women—in need of special care—to travel abroad. With the new rule, even legitimate reasons like this one will be turned down. Also, the new policy will open women up to more discriminations and harsh treatments. The most common is taking a pregnancy test before boarding a plane.