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Policy Update

As an expansion of the 2017 travel ban, the Trump Administration has added 6 countries to the list: Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar. Citizens from these nations will not be granted visas to live permanently in the United States, but the ban does not apply to individuals seeking to visit the United States for a short time or obtain student/work visas. The new ban is expected to go into force February 22, 2020 and could potentially effect around 12,400 people.

The existing nations covered in Trump’s original travel ban: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea will remain. The Trump Administration has expressed the reason for the addition of 6 new countries is for national security purposes to ensure countries meet US security needs by requiring a certain level of identity management and information sharing [with the United States]. The administration goal is to bring governments into compliance through this ban and limit  the “power of access to the United States.” Chad, which was previously included in the original travel ban, has since been removed due to its improvements in security measures.

Citizens from Sudan and Tanzania alao will no longer be eligible for the Diversity Visa Program, that awards Green Cards to 50,000 immigrants from underrepresented countries annually. Additionally, in the wake of Coronavirus, individuals (foreign nationals) who have travelled in China in the last 14 days will also be denied entry.

Analysis

As many opponents of the original travel ban have expressed, ACLU director of Immigrants’ Rights Project voiced, “the ban should be ended, not expanded.” Executive Director of Amnesty International calls the ban “offensive and actually harmful to our national security.” In the original travel ban, the majority of the countries were overwhelmingly Muslim , the 6 new countries are overwhelmingly African.

To rationalize such a ban by claiming the “power of access to the United States” will coerce these nations to improve their security measures and information sharing, is an extremely American-centric and condescending outlook. The Trump Administration’s attitude towards immigration from non-European nations is one of bias and patronage under the guise of doing these nation’s a favor.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Protect Democracy: a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting domestic and international attacks to free, fair and fully formed self-government
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
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