United States President, Donald Trump, intends to add Nigeria to a list of countries for visa restrictions.
Seven countries are on Trump’s travel ban list, according to U.S media and agency reports. The countries are - Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
Some countries will face bans only on some visa categories, the Wall Street Journal reports. The list of countries was not final and could yet change, Politico reports.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal from Davos, Trump said he is trying to add additional nations to the travel ban list, but declined to list the countries.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley defended the impending order in a statement.
"The travel ban has been profoundly successful in protecting our country and raising the security baseline around the world," he said.
"While there are no new announcements at this time, common sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures — because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States."
Politico adds in its report that Trump could make the announcement of countries on the travel ban list as early as Monday.
Not the first time
On January 27, 2017, barely a week into his tenure, Trump signed the original travel ban order which initially denied visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries. This list was later modified after a series of legal challenges.
The Supreme Court eventually allowed a third iteration of the order to go into effect. This iteration restricts entry of some citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, along with Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was removed from the original list.
Damaging bilateral ties
Politico writes that countries under consideration for the expanded travel ban include some that have either had solid bilateral relations with the U.S., or which the U.S. has courted.
Per Politico: “Nigeria, for instance, is a U.S. counter-terrorism partner and there is a large Nigerian diaspora community in the United States. At the same time, Trump has in the past referred to African nations as "shithole" countries whose citizens he did not want coming to the United States.
“He also once said that if Nigerians come to the U.S., they will never “go back to their huts” in Africa.”
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf has acknowledged that the U.S. has been creating criteria for foreign governments to address.
"For a small number of countries that lack either the will or the capability to adhere to these criteria, travel restrictions may become necessary to mitigate threats," Wolf said in prepared remarks for a Homeland Security Experts Group event.
Citizens of the affected countries can apply for waivers to the ban. Granting these waivers is another matter entirely, however.