On Friday, Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security, announced in a conference call that the Trump administration is extending its travel ban to six additional countries, reported The Guardian. The U.S. will no longer issue visas that allow holders to later achieve residency to nationals of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, Myanmar, and Tanzania.
During the call, Wolf specified that the government would stop issuing “diversity visas” to people from Tanzania and Sudan.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program, also known as the green card lottery, is a government lottery program that makes available 55,000 immigrant visas annually for permanent residence in the U.S.
While Wolf gave several reasons for issuing a ban on these countries, he pointed mainly to them not meeting the standard for information on security.
“These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful but for a variety of different reasons simply failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out.”
In the past, Trump has publicly declared that he believes United States visas should be issued based on merit instead of a lottery system.
The Trump Administration has enacted several travel bans over the course of Donald Trump‘s presidency, starting with prohibiting almost all immigrants and travelers to the United States from seven countries. The majority of these populations were made up of Muslims. Despite court challenges, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld the bans.
Following the announcement of the latest ban, several immigration-related organizations denounced the decision.
Washington state governor, Jay Inslee, took to social media platform Twitter to denounce the president’s actions.
“The expanded travel ban is an affront to the Constitution & betrays the values that bind us as Americans.”
Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Margaret Huang, was another to condemn the Trump Administration.
“Our research has demonstrated how every version of this ban has shown itself to be deadly, dangerous and disastrous. This policy is rooted in hate, white supremacy and racism.”
Amid the latest visa bans, the Trump Administration has also temporarily suspended entry to foreign nationals who have traveled to China following alarm of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. The ban goes into effect on February 2 and does not extend to the immediate family of United States nationals nor individuals who are already permanent residents.
United States airlines Delta, United, and American have suspended all flights to China until health officials are able to contain and control the spread of the deadly virus.