Trump expands immigration ban to 6 more countries, targets Muslims

President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd while on stage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The President Trump administration announced an expansion of the Muslim ban on Friday, limiting legal immigration from six more countries, many of which are African or Muslim-majority nations.

The six countries included in the latest rollout of immigration bans are Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.

“The impeached president continues to show everyone his true colors. Donald Trump’s Muslim Bans are nothing but racist, xenophobic policies that harness hate to keep people from being reunited with their families and living a better life in the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit). “There’s no coincidence that the majority of the countries added to the ban are countries in Africa and have Muslim-majority populations. This perfectly aligns with his derogatory statements about African countries, and his racism could not be any clearer.”

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The New York Times reported the U.S. issued more than 7,920 visas in Fiscal Year 2018 to immigrants from Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa. The ban also affects those trying to flee Myanmar, where many are looking for refuge from the genocide of Rohingya Muslims. 

“President Trump’s security and travel proclamations have immeasurably improved our national security, substantially raised the global standard for information-sharing, and dramatically strengthened the integrity of the United States’ immigration system,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The orders have been a tremendous and vital success.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) criticized the expansion of the travel ban in a statement.

“National security experts are clear: the Trump Administration’s travel ban does not make our country more safe. With the addition of these six countries, they are blocking refugees fleeing genocide, war, and humanitarian crises. The expansion of the travel ban goes against who we are as a nation,” Dingell wrote. “At the end of the day we all want better lives for our children and grandchildren. Putting a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign on the door to refugees and those seeking a better life is wrong. Immigrants and refugees are the symbols of our great country and despite the Administration’s actions, we must do everything we can to support them. We all want to protect our national security, but this makes us less safe.”

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Effective Sunday, immigrant visas are banned for those coming from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan and will bar immigrants from Sudan and Tanzania from migrating to the United States through the diversity visa lottery.

Immigrants who obtain visas before the policy’s effective date will still be able to travel to the United States, officials said. Student visas, certain visas for temporary workers and visas reserved for employees with specialized skills, will not be affected by the ban.

After these latest additions to the travel ban, there are 13 countries barred from entering the U.S., including Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and some from Venezuela.

On Jan. 27, the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision that allows the new public charge rule, which denies resident status for immigrants who rely on public assistance like Medicaid or housing subsidies. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services intends to begin implementing the rule on Feb. 24.

“[The public charge] rule is essentially a wealth test that severely changes the face of family-based immigration in the United States, and threatens the health, nutrition, and housing of families all over the country,” Tania Morris Diaz, staff attorney of the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) said in a statement. “The rule is designed to disproportionately impact low-income communities of color, and undermines our nation’s core values.”