Trump Not Discriminating Against Muslims Anymore, Just Black People. OK And Some Muslims.
On Friday, while the country was focused on the sham impeachment "trial" taking place in the Senate, Trump quietly extended his trademark Muslim Ban to also be an African Ban, adding seven new countries to his shit(hole) list.
Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania, and Sudan were added to the list of countries whose citizens are barred from starting new lives here, increasing the total number of countries included in Trump's travel ban to 13.
Now there are some 500 million people, mostly people of color and people from countries with a large number of Muslims, banned from immigrating to the United States based on their country of origin. This list now includes the Rohingya people fleeing genocide in Myanmar, in addition to refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and violence from groups like ISIS.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Unless, of course, our racist and xenophobic president decides he doesn't like your country. Then your people are SOL.
Ugh, we're really doing this again?
Trump is never happier than when he's hurting people of color, so once again, here we are.
On Friday, Trump issued a proclamation announcing the six new additions to his travel ban, which will take effect on February 21. Five of the six new countries are in Africa and all of the countries, of course, have large populations of Muslims and people of color.
Trump has denigrated nonwhite countries many times before, calling some "shithole countries" and saying that Nigerians allowed to come to the United States would never "go back to their huts." He also suggested new immigrants coming to the US should have "special skills," like being Norwegian.
This is another attempt by Stephen Miller and the other racists in the Trump administration to make America whiter. As Houston-based immigration lawyer Ral Obioha said,
It looks like the administration said, 'OK well we've done a Muslim-majority cleansing, and so now it's time to do an African cleansing."
Nigeria has the largest economy and the largest population in Africa, and is home to more than 200 million people. And with many Nigerians hoping to join loved ones in the US, this immigration ban will result in even more family separation. There are currently more immigrants in the US from Nigeria than from any other African country, with around 327,000 Nigerian immigrants making their homes here and countless families separated by the Atlantic Ocean.
Trump claimed most of the new countries were added to the list because of security problems with their passport systems. For Nigeria, he alleged that the country doesn't "adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information" and presents a "high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel" to the United States.
Nigeria does struggle with terrorism within its borders. Militant group Boko Haram is responsible for a number of terrorist attacks and mass kidnappings in the west African state. However, experts say Boko Haram doesn't present a threat to the US. For example,
Toyin Falola, a Nigerian historian and professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that few migrants from northern Nigeria, Boko Haram's stronghold, come to the US. Moreover, Nigeria has been working with the US in its counterterrorism efforts and to build up its border security — Trump even acknowledges Nigeria as an "important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism" in the proclamation.
It's also unclear how this particular ban would serve Trump's stated goal of keeping out terrorists, as it only blocks prospective immigrants from coming to the country, while still allowing tourist and business visas.
This new ban isn't the only way Trump has targeted African immigration. The Trump regime also revoked Temporary Protected Status for people from Liberia and Sudan, who had previously been allowed to live and work in the US legally. And Trump keeps attempting to gut the diversity visa lottery, despite having no idea what it actually is. The diversity visa lottery randomly selects 50,000 applicants to be granted green cards. For a lot of Africans, it's their sole option for immigrating to the United States. Citizens of Sudan and Tanzania are now banned from that program.
According to W. Gyude Moore at the Center for Global Development, this expanded ban will affect almost one quarter of the 1.2 billion people in Africa and could have a devastating effect on African economies.
By blocking African immigrants from resettling in the US, the United States also loses out on gaining successful people who give back to society.
"African immigrants in general and Nigerian immigrants in particular are among the most educated and successful immigrants in the United States," Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigration advocacy group America's Voice, said in a statement. "But the success and contributions of African communities is beside the point for this administration. It's not a policy announcement based on facts – it's based on Trump's desire to make America white again."
This move also further damages the United States' reputation abroad. Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan have both condemned the travel ban.
Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed said on Saturday that the government saw the ban as a political move that would hurt the country's relations with the US.
"We find this move unacceptable," he told Reuters news agency by telephone. "We will, however, not expel the US ambassador," Mohammed said.
Kyrgyzstan replied similarly, saying the restrictions "had been applied selectively and had damaged relations" with the United States.
And because god forbid anything function within the Trump administration, the countries that were added to Trump's travel ban weren't even officially notified.
Nigeria's information minister Lai Mohammed told Reuters they had no warning of their inclusion on the list before it appeared in the media.
Emmanuel Buhohela, spokesman for the Tanzanian ministry of foreign affairs said: "We don't have official communication from the US government. We haven't received a formal diplomatic communication, which is the official way of communicating between governments."
All of this is bad
It's not just that Trump's bigoted immigration policies keep families apart, hurt people, and target some of the most vulnerable populations; it's also that these policies hurt Americans with their racist message. Like Jamelle Bouie wrote,
Although immigration policy deals with the external boundaries of the United States, the elevation of whiteness has internal consequences as well. Not because the president intends to distribute benefits and favors on the basis of race -- although there are elements of that in his administration's behavior -- but because it sends a larger signal about who matters in this society. Every time Trump and other members of his administration make the decision to stratify and racialize, they are also making a statement about who receives a voice and who deserves respect.
Because there is no humanity, the Supreme Court already okayed an earlier version of the travel ban in IRAP v. Trump. This new iteration of the travel ban will probably spark additional litigation, but with that recent precedent, it's going to be a real uphill battle.
I don't know about you, but I'd sure like to hear from the Democratic presidential candidates about who would immediately repeal Trump's racist travel bans upon taking office. There's a Democratic debate on Friday -- maybe we'll finally get a question about it then!