NIGERIANS are now free to travel to the US without visa travel restrictions after President Joe Biden signed an executive order in his first day in office rescinding a ban imposed by his predecessor Donald Trump.
In January last year, the US added Nigeria to a list of countries whose citizens are banned from applying for visitor US visas, saying that the country is one of those that exports terrorism. In a move that had been pending for a while, the Trump administration added Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania to the list of countries on the US visa travel ban.
Affecting commerce and Nigerian VIPs who travel to the US hard, the ban was contested by the Nigerian government who said it was unnecessary. As diplomatic efforts intensified to get the restrictions rescinded, the US gave the federal government conditions under which it could be reviewed, pointing out that once Nigeria improves her data intelligence, it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit.
However, the restrictions were not lifted throughout the life of the trump presidency but on his first day in office, President Biden rescinded the order. It was among 17 executive orders President Biden signed on his first day in office and is part of a move towards a more collegiate foreign policy.
President Biden said: “There’s no time to waste, These are just all starting points.”
American Civil Liberties Union, a non-profit civil rights organisation, applauded the move calling the travel restrictions a cruel Muslim ban that targeted Africans. President Biden described the policy as discriminatory and an affront to the country’s values.
President Biden has also sent a bill to Congress to overhaul the country’s immigration system, his team said earlier. His proposed legislation aims to provide pathways to US citizenship for undocumented people, address the causes of migration and speed up the reunification of families after children were separated from parents at the US border with Mexico.