Three years after the first Muslim ban, Trump has done it again. This time he banned all immigration from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar/Burma, and Krgyzstan, and banned diversity visas for Sudan and Tanzania. Immigration bans now cover about a quarter of the entire population of Africa, including Nigeria, the continent’s largest country. Like the first Muslim ban, this ban also targets countries with large Muslim populations.
This ban is not about security: no nationals of these countries has launched attacks in the United States. This ban is not about stopping people from overstaying visitor or student visas: those visas are still allowed. This ban aims to stop family reunification and legal immigration.
More than five thousand Nigerian immigrants live in Minnesota. The ban says they cannot bring father or mothers, sisters or brothers, to live with them here.
Thousands of Karen and Karenni refugees from Myanmar/Burma live in Minnesota after fleeing deadly persecution in their homeland. Some of their family members still languish in refugee camps. The ban will prevent them from petitioning for those family members to join them in St. Paul or Austin or Worthington.
From his 2016 campaign promises to ban all Muslims to his 2018 diatribe about “shithole countries,” Trump’s racism and xenophobia have been a constant in both words and actions. His immigration policy embodies racism and xenophobia.
U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), whose parents came to the U.S. as refugees from Eritrea, embodies the contributions that immigrants and their children can make to the United States. On Friday, he denounced Trump’s “reckless ban on African countries,” saying that it “does not align with our American values or the promise that our country has offered to immigrants and refugees for centuries, and is yet another example of this administration’s haphazard and xenophobic immigration policy.”
He’s right. And, as speakers at this afternoon’s rally in Minneapolis said, this ban goes against Minnesota values as well. We must take the lead in opposing racism and welcoming refugees and immigrants again.