Maya Brown is a sophomore journalism major and a political science minor. Brown is also a member of the Stony Brook Latin American Student Organization (LASO).
President Donald Trump has shown Americans numerous times how he prefers wealthy immigrants over those who may come from poverty and in his mind, want to take all of the American people’s jobs.
Three years after his first travel ban that targeted Muslims, Trump issued another ban on Jan. 31 that targeted Africans, as four out of the six countries are located in Africa.
In January of 2018, during an Oval Office meeting with U.S. senators about protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Nigeria in a new immigration package, Trump showed early signs of this ban through disparaging words.
Trump referred to African nations as “shithole countries” and said that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. The Washington Post first reported on the incident citing aides briefed on the meeting. Trump’s words in no way surprised me because words of hate are the norm for him.
His ill-conceived notions about these countries is reflected in racist policies like the travel ban. The way he refers to them also demonstrates the little amount of respect he has for countries that may not be as developed as America.
Immigrants from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan who are seeking visas to live in the U.S. will be banned from obtaining them. The ban will also prevent Sudanese and Tanzanian immigrants from moving to the U.S. through the diversity visa lottery. The lottery system grants green cards to as many as 50,000 people a year.
“As President, I must continue to act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” Trump wrote in the proclamation. However, he is doing the exact opposite. Closing borders to specific groups of people exemplify racism and prejudice, and shows how he believes immigrants from these countries are a threat to American security and its people.
This is Trump’s way of showing that he prefers immigrants who are self-sufficient and come from an educational background. There are many developing countries around the world that do not have the same educational opportunities and access to jobs as the U.S. or many European countries do.
What the president doesn’t realize is that immigrants are not always able to fully support themselves immediately after arriving in the U.S. A major reason why immigrants come to the U.S. is for economic and political freedom.
Another stated rationale for the ban is that the “restrictions are the result of these countries’ unwillingness or inability to adhere to our identity management, information sharing, national security and public safety assessment criteria,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.
However, this is not based on facts considering Nigeria has been issuing biometric passports that conform with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s specifications for international travels for over a decade — showing their commitment to identity management.
Nigeria will be greatly affected, as there were about 348,000 Nigerian immigrants living in the U.S. as of 2017. The country is also the top birthplace among African immigrants in the country. From an economic perspective, it simply doesn’t make sense because Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy.
Nigerians are also among the best educated new arrivals to the United States and have one of the lowest rates of limited English proficiency, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The travel ban is only one of the ways Trump has shown his preference for the privileged. I have one question for Trump — if you don’t give people opportunities and resources they need to mobilize further in life, then how do you expect them to get there? Taking away these people’s ability to come to the U.S. to make that life for themselves means possibly taking away their chance for full potential.
The first travel ban was based on Trump’s religious bigotry and this ban is based on his racial prejudice and ignorance. Stopping people from immigrating to the U.S. goes against the ideals that this country was founded upon.
This ban goes against diversity and inclusion in America because blocking the people from these African countries limits the nation when African identities cannot be embraced. Once Trump accepts who they are and the fact they want to come to America for a better life — like most immigrants — America can continue on the path to diversifying the nation.