Trump White House adds 6 new countries to travel ban list

Jan 31, 2020

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The Trump Administration announced Friday Jan. 31 that it is adding six new countries to a partial travel ban restricting the flow of immigrants and visitors into the United States.

According to The Wall Street Journal, citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria will not be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the United States. Additionally, citizens of Sudan and Tanzania will no longer be eligible for the visa lottery, which gives green cards to those selected from a random drawing. 50,000 citizens of underrepresented nations are given green cards in the lottery each year.

Several other countries including Belarus had also been considered for more restrictive entry requirements but the administration backed away.

Thanks to a softening of the proposed policy, citizens of these countries will still be able to apply for visas to visit or do business in the United States. Most citizens from the original travel ban issued back in January of 2017 — which included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — cannot apply to visit the U.S.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf told reporters the new policy was designed to address security concerns around the way countries track their citizens.

Critics point out the fact that larger, developed countries that don’t cooperate with the United States (like Russia and China) are not included in the ban.

Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee whose Houston district includes the largest U.S. Nigerian population told the Wall Street Journal, “There are bad actors in Russia, bad actors in China, and none of those places have been put on any kind of ban. It is pure discrimination and racism.”

Wolf says the DHS is in the middle of a systematic review of all countries, and that it will reexamine the listings every six months.

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The president’s original travel ban included Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen and targeted mostly-Muslim nations. A version of that ban went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in June in a 5-4 decision that the president did indeed have the power to make the policy. The policy restricts entry of certain citizens of those countries, as well as those from Venezuela and North Korea.

Featured photo from Getty Images.
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