Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Social Workers strongly opposes the Trump administration’s new travel ban, announced on January 31. This iteration of the administration’s 2017 Muslim ban will now bar immigrants from the countries of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania from entering the United States.
Specifically, the executive order bars immigrant visas for individuals from Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Eritrea, while also suspending diversity visas (also known as the green card lottery program) for Sudan and Tanzania. This expanded immigration policy, which will impact 25 percent of the population of Africa and principally affects people who are Muslim, goes into effect on February 22.
As many as 12,400 visa applicants annually will immediately be denied unless and until a mechanism for waivers is put in place. Unlike prior bans, this travel ban does not apply to refugees, tourists, or students.
The administration stated that the new travel ban was instituted because the targeted countries failed to meet minimal security and information-sharing standards. But a complete ban on travel from these countries reveals this administration’s xenophobic immigration philosophy, which has major racial, ethnic and religious overtones.
Many of those who hope to win the diversity visa lottery are from families and children of color who are often fleeing from violence and persecution in their countries. This expansion of the travel ban is another example of policy changes and immigration rules that reflect a disregard for equality and human rights – especially for African nations.
The Trump administration must rescind this misguided policy and recommit to our nation’s cornerstone principles of inclusion and equity.