News Analysis

Implications Of Lifting Of Travel Ban On Nigerians

A year ago, the Immediate Past President of the United States, Donald Trump, placed travel restrictions on immigrants from Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania including Nigeria.

Also, Immigrants and Travellers from Libya, Somalia and Chad as well as non-African countries Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen were barred from U.S.

It meant immigrants from these countries could no longer obtain visas allowing them to migrate to the U.S permanently but would be able to come to the U.S on temporary visas, such as those for foreign workers, tourists, and students.

When a change of power took place on January 20 this year, global attention was on the United States, on the watch for policy changes President Joe Biden had signaled.

So when President Biden signed his first executive orders including reversing a Donald trump-administration travel ban on 13 countries which were mainly Muslim and African nations, citizens of the affected countries heave a sigh of relief.

Particularly, Nigerians had reasons to express delight over the pardon from the new administration in Washington. Following the Trump’s era Immigration Ban, the country, for instance had the biggest drop-off in visitors to the U.S in 2019.

This does not come as a surprise as the United States still remains a significant destinations for many Nigerians, some of who have relations in that country.

The 2019 American Community Survey estimates that three hundred and ninety –two thousand eight hundred and eleven U.S. residents were born in Nigeria.

Some of Trump’s Anti-Immigration procedures had made processing visa applications more difficult, and this included indefinite suspension of visa interview waiver for Nigerian applicants and increase in visa fees charge.

As a consequence, several Nigerians with varying genuine purposes, from schooling to short vacations, found themselves being denied visas.

Now that surmounting this problem has been facilitated, Nigerians who wish to study oversea will be able to have their desire realized.

The same goes for those who seek to go on visit to relatives, undertake genuine businesses and urgent medical attention.

While Nigerians and other countries affected by Trump’s relax in the delight of Joe Biden’s decision, it is important to note, however, that there still remains the issue of anti-migrant sentiment in the United States.

Black immigrants are still likely to be subjected to scrutiny involving extreme vetting processes, and surveillance. 

For Nigerians in particular, for example, they are still currently not eligible to participate in the diversity immigrant visa program policies.

Moreover, while the prospect of purposeful travel overseas cannot be waived aside, it is important that Nigerians avoid embarking on trips for greener pasture to exercise caution and explore prospects at home.

Olukemi Akintunde

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