Trump Administration Set to Expand Controversial Travel Ban

January 24, 2019 – The long-rumored expansion of President Trump’s travel ban is about to become a reality as, according to several media reports, the ban is set to add seven more countries to the list, including citizens from Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

The much-litigated executive order, which currently includes restrictions on five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea, would prevent citizens of those additional countries from coming to the U.S., with exceptions for refugees and those who already have U.S. green cards or visas.

The announcement of the travel ban expansion could come as early as next week to coincide with the third anniversary of the first version of the travel ban. However, the countries expected to be added to the expanded ban could still change before then.

Of the seven countries alleged to be added to the travel ban, the U.S. granted the most green cards and temporary visas to Nigeria, with citizens from the African nation garnering almost 14,000 green cards and 222,000 temporary visas in 2018. By comparison, citizens from the other six countries combined were granted a total of less than 6,000 green cards and 28,000 temporary visas.

Originally unveiled on January 27, 2017, the travel ban initially denied visas to citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries, including those who held U.S. green cards and dual U.S. citizenship. The order caused chaos and sparked widespread protests throughout the country as citizens from the affected countries were detained for questioning at airports across the country and denied entry to the U.S.

Currently, the travel ban bars citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea from obtaining green cards and entering the visa lottery program.

However, citizens from those countries with existing visas or green cards, dual U.S. citizens, and refugees seeking to come to the U.S. are not affected.

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Ortiguera Law Office

Attorney specializing in US immigration law with emphasis on employment, investment, waivers and family-based matters. He handles family, employment and investment-based visa applications, labor certifications, appeals, naturalization applications, deportation defense, applications for adjustment of status and change of status, waivers, employment authorization, visa extensions, asylum, and motions to reopen. Speaks Filipino, studied at Ateneo de Manila, Fordham University Law School.