The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has responded to president’s Trump’s administration’s ban on immigrants from six more countries from around the world, but mainly Africa.
In a statement issued on the 31st of January, Ms. Pelosi vowed to use institutional means to fight what she described as “anti-immigrant agenda.”
“The Trump Administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law. The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.
“America’s strength has always been as a beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the world, whose dreams and aspirations have enriched our nation and made America more American. With this latest callous decision, the President has doubled down on his cruelty and further undermined our global leadership, our Constitution and our proud heritage as a nation of immigrants.
“In the Congress and in the Courts, House Democrats will continue to oppose the Administration’s dangerous anti-immigrant agenda. In the coming weeks, the House Judiciary Committee will mark-up and bring to the Floor the NO BAN Act to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions. We will never allow hatred or bigotry to define our nation or destroy our values” the statement said.
The inclusion of Nigeria in the latest travel ban has come as a surprise and sparked a lot of questions regarding the motive behind it. The US Government said it is for security reasons, that Nigeria has failed to comply with the established identity-management and information-sharing criteria assessed by the performance metrics. The report also said that the African giant failed to share public safety and terrorism-related information necessary for the protection of the US national security.
“Nigeria also presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the United States. Nigeria is an important strategic partner in the global fight against terrorism, and the United States continues to engage with Nigeria on these and other issues.
“The State Department has provided significant assistance to Nigeria as it modernizes its border management capabilities, and the Government of Nigeria recognizes the importance of improving its information sharing with the United States.
“Nevertheless, these investments have not yet resulted in sufficient improvements in Nigeria’s information sharing with the United States for border and immigration screening and vetting,” the statement said.
But Nigeria has never been a source of any terrorist attack in the United States. While the West African country has a thriving problem of terrorism, it has not learnt to export it. Moreover, the two countries are anti-terrorism partners and share other bilateral ties that will suffer when the ban comes into effect in February 21.
The US’ claim of terrorism and security threat as the bases for the ban has come under serious attacks for obvious reasons. The visa ban is aimed at immigrants instead of visitors, and that’s quite illogical because terrorists are more likely to come using tourist visas. In addition, short term visas are easier to get than long term visas which come with rigorous processes and very low approval rate.
Although the ban will affect both countries, Nigeria seems to be the ultimate loser. Yearly, about 7,000 Nigerian immigrants find their way to the US, and go on to become the best they can be in many fields. The study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute in 2015 involving 400,000 Nigerian-Americans found Nigerians to be the best educated among 15 groups analyzed by the Rockefeller-Aspen Institute Diaspora Program.
They work hard to send money back home, thereby reducing the need for foreign governments, including the US, to send aid. On the other hand, the United States benefits from the services of the Nigerian immigrants. They work so hard in different fields and pay taxes, apart from adding to the diversity that made the US the most powerful country in the world.
The ban has cast a stale that needs to be cleansed. Many believe there is more to the ban than the US Government is telling, and it’s not a coincidence that it is coming at the time of the Nigeria-US Binational Commission (BNC) scheduled to hold in Washington on 3rd – 5th of February.
Nigeria appears to have two options out of the ban. 1. Negotiate its way out through the BNC. 2. Wait and pray for Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic party to succeed in their attempt to pass the bill limiting the president from using executive orders to implement travel ban.