Africans look with dismay at the parting gift U.S. President Donald Trump has given them: On the last day of 2020, Trump extended the U.S. government’s ban on green cards and work visas, which his administration imposed in April last year as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.
The new order, like the first one, was meant to ensure that American workers didn’t lose jobs to foreign nationals desiring to migrate to the United States, the administration said. But in Africa, even before the coronavirus outbreak, Trump’s immigration policies had been particularly felt.
Migration from Africa to America
Over the decades, America, with its prospect of a better life, has been a choice destination for many leaving home around the globe, including large numbers of Africans. But Trump, who campaigned on an “America First” anti-immigration policy, made securing an American visa a more difficult process than it had been. Even some Africans who relied on naturalized family members in the U.S. to assist them to travel to the country saw their dreams upended.
While much global attention has focused on the U.S.-Mexico border, where a mass of mainly Latin American migrants seek refuge in the U.S., Africans at home or in the U.S. have been impeded by Trump’s immigration policies as well.
Early in his administration, prospective travelers from three African countries — Sudan, Libya and Somalia — had their travel plans truncated by Trump’s executive order that banned travel from seven countries from entering the U.S. These were among the countries he later called “shithole countries.”
Then in January 2020 the Trump administration placed visa restriction on six countries, four of which are in Africa: Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The restriction was reportedly imposed as penalty for the failure of the listed countries to meet certain U.S. security and information-sharing standards. The implication was that citizens of those countries are no longer eligible to apply or be sponsored for permanent residency by even their own family members with the right to do so.
By Anthony Akaeze for BAPTIST NEWS GLOBAL
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