vanstaden3_KENZABURO FUKUHARAAFP via Getty Images_nigeriachina Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP via Getty Images

Trump’s Travel Ban Benefits Only China

If the US wants to counter Chinese influence in Africa, greater engagement with Nigeria seems like a no-brainer. But, with its decision to include Africa's largest economy in its expanded long-term travel ban, President Donald Trump's administration is doing just the opposite.

JOHANNESBURG – Overwhelmed by the coronavirus panic, US President Donald Trump’s impeachment folderol, and the chaotic Iowa Democratic caucuses, few took notice of the Trump administration’s announcement that it will expand its controversial 2017 travel ban to six more countries, including four in Africa. It is a politically expedient move that will do nothing to make Americans safer – and will help a country that the Trump’s own White House describes as a “strategic competitor.”

Trump’s original policy, unveiled in 2017, barred travelers from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen from entering the United States. The expanded version prohibits anyone from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Nigeria from applying to live and work in the US, and blocks Sudanese and Tanzanians from participating in the Diversity Visa Program, the annual green card lottery created to boost immigration from underrepresented countries.

The Trump administration claimed that the 2017 ban was needed to protect Americans from Islamist terrorism. Its justification for the ban’s expansion is “information-sharing deficiencies and national security risk factors,” such as lapses in tracking suspected terrorists.

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