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Explained: Why US has imposed immigration curbs on more countries

The Donald Trump government started imposing travel bans from 2017. The number of countries facing restrictions now extends to 13.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 2, 2020 8:54:53 pm
US travel ban, US immigration curbs, Donald Trump, countries facing US travel ban, Rohingya refugees, indian express explained, indian express The Trump administration has maintained that the ban is necessary to ensure countries meet its security requirements for travel. (File)

On Friday (January 31), the US announced immigration curbs for six more countries, taking the total number in the list to 13 since President Donald Trump first initiated such restrictions in 2017.

Travellers from four countries in Africa (Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania) and two from Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar) will now face stringent travel restrictions. All six countries have substantial Muslim populations.

Trump is currently vying for reelection in the 2020 polls, and is also facing an impeachment trial in the US Senate.

What does the ‘travel ban’ imposed by the Trump administration mean?

From February 22, immigrant visas (eg. family-sponsored and employer-sponsored visas) will be banned for travellers from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, and Nigeria. Those from Sudan and Tanzania would be unable to apply for the diversity visa lottery, a programme in which around 50,000 people get green cards every year.

The ban will not, however, cover nonimmigrant visas (such as for tourism, business, and students).

Some immigrants will be allowed to apply for a waiver from the restrictions.

After the restrictions come into force, more than 12,300 potential immigrants would likely be hindered from resettling, finding work or reuniting with their families in the United States, according to a New York Times report.

Countries facing the ban

President Trump, whose poll campaign had prominently featured anti-immigration rhetoric, in 2017 brought in a ban to restrict travel from 7 Muslim-majority countries. Some of them were later removed, and others were added.
The ban currently covers travellers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea.

The US has maintained that the ban is necessary to ensure that countries meet the former’s security requirements for travel.

The NYT report said that Eritrea, Tanzania, and Kyrgyzstan were added to the list either because they had not satisfied US expectations on information sharing related to terrorism, or because they did not have updated passport systems.

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As regards Sudan, the report quoted unnamed US officials as saying that the African country remained a state sponsor of terrorism. Nigeria was included as officials said that there persisted an “elevated risk and threat environment in the country”.

In Myanmar, the move is expected to impact the Rohingya Muslim community, which is fleeing genocide.


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