United States President, Donald Trump, is set to add Nigeria and six others to a new list of countries on America’s visa restriction, Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, Nigerians would not be barred from entering the country but would not be issued with certain types of visas.
The Trump administration plans to roll out its expanded travel restrictions on Monday, marking the three-year anniversary of the initial travel ban Trump signed on his seventh day in office, sparking controversy at the beginning of his term. Unlike the initial travel ban list of 2017, most of the new countries don’t have majority-Muslim populations. Several of them, however, have had relatively higher rates of their citizens overstaying visas in the US, according to DHS data.
The report reads in part, “The Trump administration plans to add seven countries to a group of nations subject to travel restrictions, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, along with others in Africa and Asia, according to administration officials who have seen the list.
“The new restrictions would apply to travellers and immigrants from Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The countries wouldn’t necessarily face blanket bans on travel to the US, but could have restrictions placed on specific types of visas, such as business or visitor visas, administration officials said.”
Nigeria could be on the list because it has a high rate of persons overstaying their visas. In the 2018 fiscal year, 24 per cent of Eritreans on business or visitor visas overstayed their permits, along with 15 per cent of Nigerians and 12 per cent of people from Sudan. Those compared with a total overstay rate in the category of 1.9 per cent. According to WSJ, some countries could be banned from participating in the diversity visa lottery program, which awards green cards to people in countries with low levels of immigration to the US.
President Trump has called for an end to that program, saying it lets undesirable people into the US, and he has proposed reorienting the existing visa system toward skilled workers instead. Nigeria had already been barred from participating from the lottery programme over six years ago. The officials said the list isn’t final, and on Tuesday the White House was still debating whether to include one or two of the countries.
The Department of Homeland Security didn’t respond to request for comment. The State Department declined to comment. The administration has said its policy restricting travel is necessary to prevent potential acts of terrorism, as countries on the list don’t adequately vet their travellers to the US. The first order, which banned travel to the US by most residents of seven majority-Muslim countries, was struck down by a federal court and withdrawn. A second iteration of the ban, issued in March 2017, was also struck down by a federal judge who said it still amounted to religious discrimination against Muslims.
A third version of the policy, issued in September 2017, was upheld by a divided Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling in June 2018 on the grounds that federal law gives the president broad authority to suspend entry to the US. Those current restrictions blocked travel by individuals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea, and by political officials from Venezuela. The administration briefly included Chad on the ban list, but removed the country in April 2018.