“While the countries affected by the expanded policy represent a very small fraction of visitation to the United States, restricting entry to the U.S. carries a negative perception that threatens the reputation of our country as an attractive and welcoming destination for global business and leisure travelers,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, in commenting on the announcement last Friday that the Trump Administration expanding its travel ban to include restricting on visas for six more countries.
President Donald Trump’s proclamation on the issue bans people from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria from receiving immigrant visas and suspends the visa lottery for people from Sudan and Tanzania. A statement from the White House press office indicated that the new rules do not prevent people from traveling to the United States for tourism, business or other non-immigrant travel.
Last Friday’s proclamation keeps the following existing restrictions in place:
— A ban on tourist or business visas for people from Libya and Yemen.
— A ban on travel for some Venezuelan government officials.
— A ban on all entry for people from Iran except for those traveling under student or exchange visitor visas.
— A ban on Somalians traveling under immigrant visas.
— And a ban on all travel by people from North Korea or Syria.
Chad initially was on the travel ban list, but the Trump Administration removed it after saying the country improved its security measures.
According to some news accounts, the inclusion of Nigeria—it is Africa’s largest nation, with a population of 204 million—seems to have attracted most attention. Nigerian nationals already have a relatively strong presence in the United States. According to the Institute of International Education, Nigeria had 13,423 students studying in the U.S. It ranks 11th among all nations in the number of international students studying in the United States.
An American Community Survey for the year 2016—the latest for which data are available—estimated that 380,785 U.S. residents report Nigerian ancestry. The 2012-2016 ACS estimated that 277,027 American residents were born in Nigeria. It also estimates that these states have the highest Nigerian-born population: Texas, with just over 60,000, had the highest Nigerian-born population of any U.S. state.
In his carefully worded statement, Dow also explained that “It is important to note that the new policy primarily relates to those seeking to immigrate to the U.S. as residents—as opposed to temporary visitors—and broadly describing it as a ‘travel ban’ isn’t wholly accurate.”
And, he added, “protecting the country is paramount—everyday travel cannot continue without it—but policies must always strike a balance between meeting security imperatives and continuing to welcome everyday travelers to the United States. Robust and safe international inbound travel to the U.S. is essential to the administration’s goals for economic, job, and export growth.”