Al Jazeera reports Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (whose residents are escaping genocide), Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania are the latest countries to be added to Trump's travel ban. Of the six countries, four of them are African nations and three have Muslim-majority populations.
In 2017, the Trump administration declared anyone from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen would not be allowed to enter the U.S. The administration also restricts entry for people coming from certain areas of North Korea and Venezuela, as Blavity previously reported.
The difference between the 2017 travel ban and the latest restriction is the targeting of visas. In 2017, the travel ban was generally stopping people from traveling to the U.S., whereas the present-day ban specifically stops visa holders who want to live in the United States. Despite criticism of the 2017 travel ban as xenophobic and racist, the Supreme Court ultimately upheld it in June 2018.
The new travel ban is set to go into effect on February 21.
"The new, additional restrictions are not blanket restrictions," said acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf via a press release. "These tailored restrictions will make the U.S. safer and more secure. And countries that make the necessary improvements will have their restrictions removed accordingly, as was done in 2018."
Each country is said to have different reasons for the new restriction, with the administration citing security risk reasons including poor cooperation with Interpol or "deficiencies" related to transitioning away from military rule, according to NBC.
Mariko Hirose, litigation director for the International Refugee Assistance Project, said the new ban will "result in more suffering for untold numbers of families who will be prevented from reuniting," NBC reported. "Many of our clients, who are in extremely vulnerable situations, will once again be harmed by this order, among them Eritrean children trying to reunite with their family members in the United States.”
"We are particularly concerned about Burmese refugees who may see America’s doors closed to them at a time of desperate need — including thousands of ethnic Chin, Karen, and Muslim Rohingya, who have fled severe persecution," said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
With an exception to some immigrants who assist the U.S., the new restriction affects every immigrant from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria. For Sudan and Tanzania, immigrants with diversity lottery visas will also be affected. The DHS is estimating the expanded ban will affect 12,000 travelers.