President Donald Trump has widened his so-called ‘travel ban’ to pressure foreign governments to tighten up their security checks on airline travelers.
Acting secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf said:
These countries — for the most part — want to be helpful, want to do the right thing, [to] have relationships with the U.S. and are in some cases improving relations, but for a variety of different reasons failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out. The only way to mitigate the risk is to impose these travel restrictions.
The security policy denies most travel and immigration visas to the targeted countries until they can upgrade their often chaotic and ramshackle domestic security and identification policies. U.S. officials want to be able to reliably identify and screen foreigners who apply for visas to enter the United States.
“We wanted to make sure that these six countries … mitigate the risk,” he told reporters on Friday. “We want to send a signal that we’re very serious about this but not cripple all of their various visas, so there’s a number of visas they’re still able to use.”
Officials have added Nigeria, Burma, Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Tanzania, and Sudan to the list of non-cooperative “travel ban” countries.
In 2018, officials included the first set of chaotic or totalitarian countries — Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Venezuela — after Trump’s pro-migration opponents lost a lawsuit at the U.S. Supreme Court.
People in Sudan and Tanzania are also being largely barred from the diversity lottery visa program until their governments tighten identification procedures. Each year, Congress awards 50,000 green cards to countries that have sent lower numbers of migrants to the United States. Trump has repeatedly called for the diversity visa program to be canceled.
Pro-migration advocates described the first set of security measures as a “Muslim Ban” and are now trying to label the updated list as an “African Ban.”
Democrat Rep. Joe Neguse, D.-Colo., for example, cited a poem associated with the Statue of Liberty to portray Trump’s security upgrade as “reckless, cruel and wrong.”
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses"
As a son of Eritrean refugees, those words mean everything.
The President's travel ban on Eritrea & other African countries is reckless, cruel and wrong.
Congress must oppose it. And we will. https://t.co/e7Ws3Ga5rX
— Joe Neguse (@JoeNeguse) January 31, 2020
Advocacy groups formed by African immigrants also complained about Trump’s security policies:
.@AmahaKassa, @AfricansUS: The WH has gone after African communities by going after the diversity visa, stripping immigrants of TPS, escalating enforcement in our communities. This ban is a continuation of their ongoing xenophobia.
— America's Voice (@AmericasVoice) January 31, 2020
One Islamic-themed advocacy group, Muslim Advocates, said the updated list expands the so-called “Muslim Ban”:
The Muslim Ban expansion is about one thing: weaponizing anti-Muslim bigotry for political gain. Like the administration’s earlier Muslim bans, this expanded ban overwhelmingly targets Muslims and forces tens of thousands Americans to sacrifice their families, their health and their educational and professional opportunities. In fact, over a million Americans were born in Muslim Ban countries and could be affected. It is clear that the president’s goal, as always, is to target Muslims, immigrants, black and African countries and other people or color.
In September 2001, 19 self-proclaimed orthodox Muslims exploited lax security rules to hijack four American aircraft to target and murder 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania.