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On January 31, US President Donald Trump announced that his administration would be expanding its immigration ban to include six more countries — Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar.
While citizens of those countries will still be able to visit the United States as tourists, they won’t be able to obtain visas leading to US citizenship.
Shortly after the US announced the move, just the latest effort by the Trump administration to further restrict immigration, countries newly added to the ban list began lashing out.
On February 1, the northeast African nation of Eritrea stated that the US move to block Eritreans from receiving immigrant visas was “unacceptable”.
Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh Mohammed said the government saw the ban as a political move that would hurt his country’s relations with the US.
“We find this move unacceptable. We will, however, not expel the US ambassador,” he told Reuters.
Another African country included on the list, Nigeria, said it had put together a special committee to evaluate the “security issues” given for banning Nigerians from living permanently in the US.
“We will remain committed to maintaining productive relations with the US and other international allies especially on matters of global security,” a Nigerian presidential statement read.
Nigeria claims it did not receive prior notification from the US that they would be included on the new list of banned countries.
Four African countries banned
Tanzania and Sudan were included on the list of banned countries, bringing the total number of African countries on the list to four.
Residents of Tanzania and Sudan will no longer be issued “diversity visas,” which are given out by the US to 50,000 applicants a year.
Like Nigeria, Tanzania says that it, too, did not receive notice from the US government that its citizens would no longer be able to apply for long-term US visas.
“We don’t have official communication from the US government. We haven’t received a formal diplomatic communication, which is the official way of communicating between governments," says Emmanuel Buhohela, the spokesman for the Tanzanian ministry of foreign affairs.
US President Donald Trump said that diversity visas would henceforth be made available to countries with lower immigration rates.
Impact on Myanmar
Myanmar’s inclusion on the ban list has the potential to seriously affect the ongoing refugee crisis taking place there involving the persecuted Rohingya minority.
The ban could also impact US-Myanmar relations. This, in turn, could see Myanmar transition towards selling its natural resources solely to China.
Myanmar is rich in natural gas, petroleum, timber and other valuable minerals such as gold, tin, rubies and jade. The country opened its economy to the world in 2012 after the end of military dictatorship and decades of civil war.