WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration announced Friday that it was restricting immigrants from six additional countries that officials said failed to meet minimum security standards, as part of an election-year push to further clamp down immigration.
Officials said immigrants from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania will face new restrictions in obtaining certain visas to come to the United States. But it is not a total travel ban, unlike President Donald Trump’s earlier effort that generated outrage around the world for targeting Muslims.
Trump signed a proclamation on the restrictions Friday; they go into effect Feb. 21
The announcement came as Trump tries to promote his crackdown on immigration, highlighting a signature issue that motivated supporters in 2016 and hoping it has the same effect this November. The administration recently announced birth tourism restrictions, is touting the sharp decline in crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border and citing progress on building the border wall.
“It is fundamental to national security, and the height of common sense, that if a foreign nation wishes to receive the benefits of immigration and travel to the United States, it must satisfy basic security conditions outlined by America’s law enforcement and intelligence professionals,” the White House said in a statement.
Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea and Nigeria would have all immigrant visas suspended; those are applicants seeking to live in the U.S. permanently. They include visas for people sponsored by family members or employers as well as the diversity visa program that made up to 55,000 visas available in the most recent lottery. In December, for example, 40,666 immigrant visas were granted worldwide.
Sudan and Tanzania will have diversity visas suspended. The State Department uses a computer drawing to select people from around the world for up to 55,000 diversity visas. Nigeria is already excluded from the lottery along with other countries that had more than 50,000 natives immigrate to the U.S. in the previous five years.
Nonimmigrant visas were not affected — awarded to those traveling to the U.S. for a temporary stay. They include visas for tourists, those doing business or people seeking medical treatment. During December, for example, about 650,760 nonimmigrant visas were granted worldwide.