90 Miles From Tyranny : Why Did President Trump Expand the Travel Ban?

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Why Did President Trump Expand the Travel Ban?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that the U.S. president has the authority to issue travel bans as part of his duty to protect American citizens. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf (right), arguing for the administration, opined that it is only logical that any people applying for a visa to the U.S. be properly vetted. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)



  • General justifications for the travel ban include: poor vetting of travelers to the U.S. by the restricted countries; an unwillingness on the part of those countries to share personal data on would-be visitors to the U.S.; and the refusal to accept the return of their nationals if expelled by U.S. authorities.
  • Kyrgyzstan made the travel-ban list largely because of its lax passport issuance, which has caused a global glut of false Kyrgyzstani passports used by criminals and terrorists to enter Eurasian countries. Kyrgyzstan is also notable for its poor counter-terrorism efforts.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that the U.S. president has the authority to issue such travel bans as part of his duty to protect American citizens. The ruling also determined that the first list of countries placed on the restricted visa program in 2017 did not constitute a "Muslim ban," as North Korea and Venezuela were also included.... Eritrea has more Christians than Muslims. Myanmar is almost entirely Buddhist.
  • Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, arguing for the administration, opined that it is only logical that any people applying for a visa to the U.S. be properly vetted.

There are general and specific justifications for U.S. President Donald Trump's January 31 order to add Nigeria, Tanzania, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan and Myanmar (Burma) to the list of seven other countries -- Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen -- subjected to a restriction on travel to the United States.

General justifications for the travel ban include: poor vetting of travelers to the U.S. by the restricted countries; an unwillingness on the part of those countries to share personal data on would-be visitors to the U.S.; and the refusal to accept the return of their nationals if expelled by U.S. authorities.
Although each of the additional six countries added to the list will be subjected to restricted travel – as of February 22 -- Sudan and Tanzania also will be ineligible to participate in the State Department's "green card lottery" program.

The specific justifications for each of the six new countries added to the travel-ban list can be broken down as follows:

Nigeria

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is concerned by the large number of Nigerians who overstay their visas. In 2018, this number was estimated at 30,000. In addition, according to DHS, Nigeria fails to cooperate adequately in efforts to apprehend Nigerian criminals who abscond to and seek safe haven in the U.S.

Nigeria is the country that will suffer the most from the travel ban if it does not satisfy U.S. security concerns. Many Nigerian workers -- green card holders legally employed in the U.S. -- send money back home to their families. The World Bank estimates that remittance funds from the Nigerian global diaspora amount to about $25 billion.

Nigerians make up the largest immigrant group in the U.S. from Africa. At a joint February 4 press conference in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama agreed to address all American security concerns, to avoid being subjected to the travel ban.

Tanzania

Tanzania is on the travel-ban list for three main reasons. First...


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