Written by: Daniel Waldron and Sanwar AliEdited
On January 11, 2018, during an Oval Office meeting with US senators about protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries in a new immigration package, President Donald Trump apparently said the following:
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”
Trump denies having said this. Other remarks that apparently Trump has made include the following:
He had complained that Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” and that Haitians “all have aids.” At the Oval Office meeting he had said “Why do we need more Haitians?”…“Take them out.”
One interesting thing is the relatively low number of deportations compared to the previous Obama administration. In 2012 the Obama and Biden administration deported 419,384 people out of the United States. Neither Trump or anyone else has broken this record. Trump has tweeted that he would remove “millions” of illegal immigrants if elected for a second term. Last year the Trump administration deported 256,000 people a far lower level than under Obama. Not much of the border wall with Mexico has been completed. It is however very difficult for US Presidents to make major changes to US immigration legislation.
Please note that you have until 5 November 2019 to apply under the US Diversity Lottery Scheme.
The number of US visas granted to Africans is rising faster than the number of visas issued to immigrants from other countries, according to US Census Bureau data. Between 2010 and 2018, the African immigrant population in the US increased at a rate of nearly 50% – almost double the rate of migration to the US from Asia, South America and the Caribbean.
However, it is worth referencing that the high growth rate of Africans is, in part, attributed to the relatively smaller African migrant communities compared with the size of communities from Central America, which have been established much longer.
Nigerians remain the largest population of African immigrants in the US, according to the data. However, immigrants from Cameroon recorded the highest growth numbers. By 2018, the number of Cameroon-born migrants in the US had doubled to 80,000 compared to 2010, with much of the growth occurring more recently.
Cameroon population fastest growing in US
Survey results indicate that Cameroon has the fastest growing population in the US, accurate to within 10,000 people. Political unrest in Cameroon is said to be partly responsible for an increasing number of Cameroonians arriving in the US.
Protests against the Francophone-led government has sparked several instances of violence in recent years, resulting in many Cameroonians fleeing the country.
While the rise of African immigrant numbers in the US is mainly people seeking refugee status or asylum, a high percentage are heading to the US to further their education.
According to the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, from 2006 to 2014, the number of African students pursuing post-secondary degrees abroad grew 24%, rising from about 343,000 to 427,000. It rose 9% from 2013 to 2014 alone.
US diversity visa lottery
The US Diversity Visa Lottery Program, better known as the Green Card Lottery, has also been a major route of entry for African nationals.
According to data, Ghana, which ranks among the top five for rising immigrant numbers in the US, had the highest number of Diversity Visa applications than any other nation in 2015, while at least a million applied in 2016.
Regional quotas for the Diversity Visa are set by the US State Department every year. In 2017, citizens of African nations received the highest proportion of visas (approximately 19,000).
The Trump factor and African immigration
Despite a rising African immigrant population in the US, under the Trump administration, it’s likely that the President’s ongoing campaign to restrict legal US immigration will have an impact on future trends.
Trump officials are notorious for using ‘workarounds’ to suffocate immigration from certain parts of the world, including Africa and the Caribbean. A recent Trump policy restricts who can apply for a Diversity Visa, with new rules stating that all applicants must have a valid passport.
Immigrant advocates argue that the new policy is likely to deter applicants from the so-called, developing world.
Amaha Kassa, executive director of the nonprofit African Communities Together, said: “This seems like a backdoor strategy to discourage low-income people from applying for the Diversity Visa Lottery; we know that this President has expressed strong preference for immigrants that are wealthy, white and European.”
Kassa said that ‘it remains to be seen whether the Trump administration’s new US immigration policies will impact the flow of African migrants’, but added that any disruption would likely be ‘temporary.’
“This is a detour because I don’t think the majority of Americans agree with Trump’s restrictionist agenda. As long as African migrants have children who are becoming citizens and voters, over time we will become a more welcoming and inclusive society.”
E2 and E1 visa concerns for Nigerians
News of an increasing number of Africans receiving US visas comes following recent sanctions imposed on Nigerians.
Amid a 2018 visit to the US by Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari, the US-Nigeria Trade Council urged Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and US government officials to agree a bilateral treaty that would enable Nigerians to take advantage of the US E1 (nonimmigrant treaty trader) and E2 (nonimmigrant treaty investor) visa programs.
However, it seems any hope of visa validity being extended and access to E1 and E2 visas being made available to Nigerians, has been shattered by recent sanctions imposed on Nigeria by the US.
The sanctions have reportedly been imposed on Nigerians who attempted to undermine Nigeria’s democratic process during the African nation’s general election in February. However, the US State Department did not name those affected by the visa sanctions.
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