The Trump administration on Friday added six countries to the nations facing stringent travel restrictions, virtually blocking immigration from Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, and from Myanmar, where refugees are fleeing genocide.
Beside Nigeria, varying degrees of restrictions will hit three other African countries, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania, and one former Soviet state, Kyrgyzstan.
Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya could also be caught in the crossfire. The total number of countries on the restricted travel list now stands at 13.
Immigrant visas, issued mostly to foreigners intending to live in the United States, will be banned from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan. The ban would prevent immigrants from Sudan and Tanzania from obtaining diversity visas. Homeland Security and State Department officials said some immigrants would be able to obtain waivers from the restrictions.
The proclamation, which President Trump was expected to sign on Friday, will take effect on February 22.
The administration has argued that the ban, enacted in 2017 to restrict travel from Muslim-majority countries, is necessary to ensure that countries satisfy security requirements for travel into the United States, or face restrictions until they do.
The expansion of the restrictions, which already affected more than 135 million people in seven countries, is likely to hinder more than 12,300 potential immigrants from resettling in the United States or reuniting with their family. The effect on Nigeria, not only Africa’s most populous country but also its largest economy, could be particularly severe.
A United States government official said the administration was adding Nigeria and Tanzania to the list because of the number of people who come from the African countries on a visa and end up illegally staying in the United States. The official said Sudan and Eritrea had not satisfied the administration’s information-sharing requirements.