Donald Trump’s latest travel bans are cruel and senseless – and an opportunity for Justin Trudeau

Of the African countries included in the ban, immigration to Canada has increased for all of them 2015-19 (till November): Nigeria (4,090 to 11,175), Eritrea (2,210 to 6,555), Sudan (335 to 1,200) and Tanzania (150 to 200). So hard to see Kusmu’s case for “measures to directly increase immigration to Canada from those countries” given that it is already happening.

I am not sure about whether this would actually play a positive role in gaining African support for the Canadian Security Council bid, given that this is essentially a brain drain from Africa to Canada:

Understanding the news that came from the White House on Jan. 31 was an exercise in cognitive dissonance.

Earlier that day, President Donald Trump proclaimed February as National African-American History month. “Through bravery, perseverance, faith and resolve – often in the face of incredible prejudice and hardship – African-Americans have enhanced and advanced every aspect of American life,” he said.

But just a few hours later, his administration announced the latest round of travel bans, which will affect four African countries – Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania – that contain nearly a quarter of the continent’s entire population (a continent he previously referred to as containing “shithole” countries). The various restrictions – the suspension of visas for people sponsored by family members and, for some, green card (i.e. diversity visa program) applications – go into effect on Feb. 22.

The Trump administration cites national-security concerns for those bans, including potential slips of aging identity-management systems and overall “elevated risk and threat environments”; past White House officials and current legislators have called the bans nonsensical and cruel. Indeed, those issues offer the government thin cover to arbitrarily target potential immigrants, most of whom are free to apply for a temporary visitor visa (which would theoretically nullify any security precautions) but are barred from the labour-intensive process of applying for an immigration visa that often requires years of intense vetting.

So if security seems like an unlikely motive for the administration’s latest move, what is? While there is some speculation it may be a play for diplomatic bargaining chips with those countries, the more probable motivator is Mr. Trump’s anti-immigration base as a presidential election looms. Unlike the 2017 Muslim ban, which garnered widespread condemnation and scrutiny, a craftier approach – targeting mostly African nations under the pretense of national security – has been adopted. (Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan were also included in this round of bans.)

What Mr. Trump and his supporters may not realize (or, more likely, care about) are the economic and moral consequences of this decision. Banning immigration from Nigeria, one of Africa’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economies, would essentially close America off to a demographic that has proven to be some of its most educated and, with it, direct access to what Newsweek named a growing global “economic superpower” – ironically, on the same day the bans were announced.

The graver implication is that this policy will bring ruin to the lives of the more than 12,000 potential immigrants expected to apply next year and the thousands more relatives and loved ones. The fact that families who are awaiting to permanently reunite with their aging parents or their distant partners on American soil will know that this is impossible, at least for now, is heart-wrenching. To make matters worse, Eritrea and Myanmar (where the Rohingya population is under threat of genocide) are experiencing outsize refugee crises, demonstrating yet again the cruelty of this measure.

Countries continue to erect walls against migrants, from the United States to Greece, which recently announced a (widely ridiculed) plan to create a floating barrier to block refugees on boats. Leaders continue to employ racist rhetoric; Mr. Trump, for instance, previously cited concerns that Nigerians visiting the U.S. would never “go back to their huts” in Africa. And this represents an opportunity for Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada will likely witness a large increase of immigration applications from the countries affected by Mr. Trump’s ban. As a country, we will be all the better for such waves, particularly since the infusion of new Canadians can help us offset the challenges that come with our increasingly aging population. And so Mr. Trudeau can counter Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and policies by announcing measures to directly increase immigration to Canada from those countries. If nothing else, it could serve as a last-minute rallying point to bolster his government’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council, especially as he embarks on an outreach tour of Africa this month.

But perhaps, more poignantly, this move could serve as a much-needed act of atonement to Canadians of African descent, for whom the memories of Mr. Trudeau’s blackface scandal from the 2019 federal election campaign are still fresh. Just as Mr. Trump’s Black History Month actions were telling about his government’s approach, there might be few better ways for Mr. Trudeau to signal his support of Black History Month in Canada this year.

Source: Donald Trump’s latest travel bans are cruel and senseless – and an opportunity for Justin Trudeau: Petros Kusmu

ICYMI: African Immigrants May Be Trump’s Next Target

Of note, with possible impact on future asylum seekers in Canada:
Last week, Politico reported that the Trump administration was considering adding seven new countries to its travel ban. A majority of them—Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, and Nigeria, which is by far the most populous of the seven—are in Africa. The rationalization appears to involve terrorism. In the “counterterrorism” section of a January 17 speech, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, declared, “We’re establishing criteria that all foreign governments must satisfy to assist DHS in vetting foreign nationals seeking to enter our country … 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.”Because the Supreme Court upheld Donald Trump’s travel ban in 2018 on national-security grounds, it’s not surprising that administration officials would cite that same rationale to expand the ban now. But the argument is weak. According to numbers crunched by the Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh when Trump first imposed the ban three years ago, not a single person born in Eritrea, Tanzania, Nigeria, or Sudan killed a single American in a terrorist attack on American soil from 1975 to 2016. (The same is true of Belarus and Myanmar, two of the other three countries Trump may add to the travel-ban roster. Two people from Kyrgyzstan, the final country, were implicated in deadly anti-American terrorism incidents during the period, according to Nowrasteh’s tally.)
A Wall Street Journal article on the potential travel-ban expansion suggests a different justification: Travelers from Eritrea, Sudan, and Nigeria are more likely than travelers from other countries to overstay their visas. But if that’s the case—as Tom Jawetz, an immigration expert at the Center for American Progress, explained to me—the answer is to train the U.S. consular officers who give out those visas to better determine who won’t return home, or to actually increase visas to meet legitimate demand. The answer is not to collectively punish the population of an entire country.But if the Trump administration’s real motivation is to decrease immigration from Africa, then collective punishment has a certain logic to it. For several years now, Trump has trained his nativist ire on Muslims and Latinos. The travel ban suggests he’s adding a new target, just in time for the 2020 elections: Africans.According to the Pew Research Center, the number of black immigrants in the United States has grown fivefold over the past 40 years. America’s immigrant population from sub-Saharan Africa more than doubled from 2000 to 2016 alone. Trump’s allies have noticed. In her book Adios America, which Trump publicly praised, and parroted, when he launched 2016 campaign, Ann Coulter claims, “There were almost no Nigerians in the United States until the 1970s. Today there are 380,000.” This is a problem, she declares, because “in Nigeria, every level of society is criminal.” When 500 Congolese and Angolan immigrants showed up at the Texas border last June, Tucker Carlson warned that, because of “population growth … on the continent of Africa,” African immigration “could become a torrent” that could “overwhelm our country, and change it completely and forever.”

Trump himself, according to The New York Times, vented in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that on his watch the United States had admitted 40,000 Nigerians who would never “go back to their huts.” (Nigerian immigrants are actually twice as likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree as Americans as a whole.) During an immigration meeting in 2018, The Washington Post reported, Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and nations in Africa as “shithole countries.” Soon afterward, the White House unveiled a proposal to remake America’s immigration system. According to the Center for American Progress, it would have reduced immigration from sub-Saharan Africa by 46 percent, more than any other region of the world.

But while Trump’s animosity to African immigration isn’t new, it has never before taken center stage in his administration’s policies or his public rhetoric. Trump launched his 2016 presidential campaign talking about Mexican rapists. He made building a wall on America’s southern border his campaign’s rallying cry. He responded to the December 2015 jihadist attack in San Bernardino, California, by demanding a ban on Muslim immigration. He made Central American immigrant “caravans” the heart of his get-out-the-vote strategy in 2018.

So Trump is diversifying his array of immigrant threats. Singling out African countries could spark a public battle with the Congressional Black Caucus, Somalian-American Representative Ilhan Omar, and African American celebrities—just the sort of foes who rouse Trump’s base. Expect presidential tweets and Tucker Carlson monologues about Nigerian email scammers and crime rates in Lagos. In Trump’s ceaseless battle to terrify Republicans with the specter of an America no longer controlled by white men, a new front may be opening up.

Source: African Immigrants May Be Trump’s Next Target