Three years after Donald Trump banned travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, his administration announced on January 31 that he is extending the ban to immigrants from Nigeria, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan.
This expansion, which will take effect February 22, broadens the scope of the ban to include refugees, asylum seekers and those with travel visas or permanent residency visas (green cards) without a special waiver. These new barriers will continue to take a drastic toll on Muslim immigrants, tens of thousands of whom have already been separated from their families under the current iteration of the ban.
The move also directly targets African immigrants, who comprise an estimated 81 percent of those hurt by the expansion, including those from Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Trump adviser and well-known white supremacist Stephen Miller reportedly influenced the change, which the White House has claimed is a security move.
We’re not buying it.
Trump has long made his animus toward immigrants clear, both in rhetoric and policy. In addition to the litany of hateful statements he has made about Latinx immigrants, Trump has specifically insulted African immigrants, including his comments that Haitian and African immigrants come from “shithole countries,” that Haitians “all have AIDS” and that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” after seeing the U.S.
His administration has followed suit: In addition to the Muslim ban and its expansion, the Trump administration has pushed other measures to codify bigotry and discrimination against immigrants into our laws, including:
- The “wealth test” public charge rule, which cuts back a path to citizenship for an estimated 50 percent of immigrants who reside legally in the U.S. and rely on public benefits for more than 12 months.
- New restrictions on tourist visas for pregnant immigrants
- An onslaught of regulations, including his abhorrent family separation policy, to essentially shut down the U.S. asylum system.
Over the past three years, Trump’s cruelty has created an ongoing humanitarian crisis. He has broken our country’s promise to provide safety and opportunity to immigrants and asylum seekers and instead unleashed unimaginable suffering and pain. His expansion of the Muslim ban isn’t about security: it’s about sowing hate and division in the name of political interest.
As Trump continues to enact his reelection campaign to “keep America great,” we should expect him to double down on his anti-African, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Amid these attacks, we must reaffirm our commitment to the values we aspire to – freedom, equality, opportunity and justice – and stand against Trump’s dehumanizing Muslim ban and its expansion.
Members of Congress will re-introduce the NO BAN Act to repeal Trump’s Muslim ban and implement a constitutional safeguard to prevent future discriminatory travel bans. Click here to join us as we call on Congress to overturn the Muslim ban and pass the NO BAN Act.