- Six new countries were added to President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, including Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, and Tanzania.
- Four — Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, and Tanzania — are African nations.
- Trump reportedly once referred to some African nations, along with Haiti, and El Salvador, as “s—hole” countries, while in a 2018 meeting, The Washington Post reported at the time.
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The Department of Homeland Security announced six new countries that will be added to President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban, bringing the number of total countries to 13 — including Nigeria, Africa’s largest nation with more than 203 million people, and roughly 16% of Africa’s overall population.
The policy means the US will suspend issuing visas that could lead to permanent residence for Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Eritrea, but visas for certain temporary workers, those with special skills, and students would not be affected. Nonimmigrant visas would also not be impacted. “Diversity visas” will be suspended for Tanzania and Sudan.
Four of the six new countries are African including Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan, and Eritrea.
Trump reportedly once referred to some African nations, along with Haiti, and El Salvador, as “s—hole” countries, while in a 2018 meeting, The Washington Post reported at the time.
“Trump’s comments about African nations being sh*thole countries were not just words. He was foreshadowing actual policy direction,” Karen Attiah, The Post’s Global Opinions Editor tweeted on Friday.
Myanmar, which has seen a genocide against the native Rohingya Muslim minority, and Kyrgyzstan also have restrictions.
Lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have already voiced their opposition to the ban and called it discriminatory.
“The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.”
In a press release, DHS said the countries were added to the ban after they failed to meet security criteria, and that they’ve updated the “methodology” used to determine compliance with the security criteria.
“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,” Chad Wolf, acting secretary of Homeland Security told Al Jazeera.
The ban will go into effect on February 22, but officials told The New York Times that those whose visas were granted before then could enter the US.
The restrictions can affect more than 12,300 potential immigrants on top of the 135 million already impacted from the seven countries previously banned in 2017, The Times reported.
In 2018, the US issued 7,920 immigrant visas to Nigerians. The ban can have a damaging effect on the country’s economy, which also happens to be the biggest on the continent.
“Once a travel ban is imposed on a country, the consequences are not always pleasant,” Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture told The Times.
Mohammed also told The Times that Nigeria has cooperated with the United States in the fight against terrorism and he’s worried that a travel ban “cannot but be inimical to the growth of the country.”
As Business Insider previously reported, Trumps travel ban was previously scrutinized for its targeting of seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The first two versions of the order were deemed unconstitutional in federal court due to its apparent focus on Muslim travellers. The third version of the policy was upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2018, and banned travel from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and some from Venezuela.