New travel restrictions threaten over 12,000 visa applications

| Feb 4, 2020 | Immigration Law |

Continuing its practice of imposing travel and immigration bans on specific countries, the Trump administration announced that the government would bar immigrant visas for people from Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Eritrea. An additional two countries, Sudan and Tanzania, have been removed from the diversity visa program that randomly grants green cards to people from certain countries. California residents who were hoping to secure visas for relatives from these countries could now face extra roadblocks or outright denials. According to government estimates, the latest round of restrictions could affect about 12,400 current visa applications.

The Department of Homeland Security said that the six countries now facing travel and immigration restrictions are unable to meet the government’s security and information-sharing standards. A DHS spokesperson told reporters that the countries were either unable or unwilling to share information, manage identities, or meet other criteria for national security and public safety.

The director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union called the travel restrictions the president’s way of discriminating against people of color. The legal director for the International Refugee Assistance Project called the policy “bigoted”. At the International Rescue Committee, the director for U.S. immigration said that no evidence suggested that people traveling from these countries posed a threat to national security. The rules represented a needless attack on people who want to visit or immigrate to the United States.

Even under good circumstances, individuals might struggle to obtain approval from immigration authorities. Legal representation might empower a person who needs to approach immigration officials. An attorney might evaluate a person’s options regarding green cards or DACA renewal and suggest how to proceed. With legal support, a person might prepare a thorough application that complies with government regulations.