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 as well as Tanzania. The countries wouldn’t necessarily face blanket bans on travel to the U.S.; but could have restrictions placed on specific types of visas; such as business or visitor visas, administration officials said.
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 U.S.
President Trump has called for an end to that program, saying it lets undesirable people into the U.S.; and he has proposed reorienting the existing visa system toward skilled workers instead.
The administration, equally important, plans to roll out its expanded travel restrictions on Monday; marking the three-year anniversary of the initial travel ban Mr Trump signed on his seventh day in office; sparking controversy at the beginning of his term.
The first order, which banned travel to the U.S. by most residents of seven majority-Muslim countries; was struck down by a federal court and also withdrawn.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.
Those current restrictions blocked travel by individuals from Iran; Libya; Somalia; Syria; Yemen as well as North Korea; and also by political officials from Venezuela.
Unlike the initial list, 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 U.S., according to DHS data.
The move to expand its travel restrictions signals the Trump administration’s intent; to ramp up several hard-line immigration policies ahead of the 2020 election; which Mr Trump’s advisers believe will play in his favour.