President Donald Trump’s administration has recently added six more countries to their controversial United States visa and travel ban. The Department of Homeland Security reported that Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria will all be banned from the United States. Tanzanian and Sudan citizens will be blocked from applying for the “diversity visas.” The original ban is not unfamiliar with critique and scrutiny, and it is expected to face much more following this amendment.
Fear and shock are spreading as people from these recently banned countries wonder how they will be affected by the changes. Those already in the U.S., or with already approved visas will not be removed from the U.S. However, this does raise questions about how flexible they can be about leaving and coming back. CNN reported that much of the shock is coming from Nigerians due to the fact that Nigeria and the U.S. have been allies under several circumstances. As well as this, Nigeria is Africa’s strongest economic tie to the U.S. CNN also reported that immigrants from Nigeria have proven themselves to be an extremely successful and well-educated group in the U.S. This ban will come into effect on 21 February 2020.
CNN interviewed a handful of Nigerians on their thoughts about the ban, and it is clear there is confusion and hurt. Desmond Okocha said that “Everybody should have freedom of movement, I don’t see any reason for doing that.” Al Jazeera reported that Houston immigration lawyer Ral Obioha said, “It’s a lot of fear. It’s a lot of trepidation because people just don’t know what this means practically for them. There’s a lot of disbelief that this administration would go as far as separating families.” Nigeria’s government, represented by Femi Adesina, has responded. He released a statement saying they will work closely with the “U.S. Government, INTERPOL and other stakeholders to ensure all updates are properly implemented.”
I believe that implementing this ban in the first place was a clear disruption of peace and tolerance. The way Donald Trump spoke – and still does speak – about foreign countries, particularly those in African and Middle Eastern regions, is nothing short of despicable. With his words and actions, Trump has nurtured a breeding ground for xenophobia, zero-tolerance, and racism fuelled hatred that has not been seen so passionately from a Western society in decades. His actions have said to the American people that Muslims are beneath them, and that immigrants hold no value, and this extension on the ban only furthers that. Hatred like this creates a deeply troubled society that tips the scales of free speech and hate speech constantly. Xenophobia is fear-mongering, which prevents peace from becoming a reality.
There remains some confusion about just how much damage this ban will do on individual levels and on higher levels. As answers come to light the international community is forced to watch on as more hatred breeds. We can only hope that in the future, the United States strives to do better to breed tolerance and eventually acceptance of immigrants, but it is going to be a severely rocky path to get there.
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