WASHINGTON — It began as a controversial way to combat the threat of international terrorism. Now, President Trump is expanding his travel ban.
The administration announced Friday restrictions on travel from six more countries. They stretch across Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
According to the BBC, citizens of Nigeria, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan and Eritrea can not get visas that can lead to permanent residency in the United States. ‘Diversity visas’ will no longer be issued to citizens of Sudan and Tanzania.
The Wall Street Journal says the new restrictions will take effect on Feb. 21, and anyone with a valid visa issued before that date will still be allowed to emigrate to the U.S.
According to the New York Times, the administration said some potential immigrants would be able to apply for waivers.
Unlike the restrictions placed on other countries, the expanded policy does not block business and leisure travel
President Trump first announced the implementation of a travel ban in 2017, targeting Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. During lengthy court battles in which opponents called it a thinly veiled attempt to keep Muslims out of the U.S., the administration maintained the policy was designed solely to protect American citizens from countries that harbor terrorists.
The original ban – and a second version – were both blocked by a federal judge. A third iteration was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Wall Street Journal says illegal immigration is the prime target this time around. In 2018, the Journal reports, 24 percent of Eritrean visitors overstayed their travel visas – compared to an ‘overstay’ average of 1.9 percent.
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