Posted on March 3, 2020

Trump’s New Travel Ban Rattles Nigerian-Americans in Georgia

Jeremy Redmonand Tia Mitchell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 2, 2020

Nigerians hope to get their country removed from President Donald Trump’s most recent travel ban, a set of wide-ranging visa restrictions that have divided Georgia and rattled many Nigerian-Americans living here.

Immigrants worry the restrictions will split families and deter Nigerian doctors and entrepreneurs from coming to the U.S. Meanwhile, conservative Georgians are defending Trump’s decision to include Nigeria. The president added the West African nation on Jan. 31, saying it does not adequately share public safety and terrorism-related information.


By far the largest of the 13 nations covered by the government’s travel restrictions, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with 208 million people. More than 23,000 people born in Nigeria now call Georgia home.

{snip} Three years ago, Trump reportedly complained Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” if they were granted visas to visit the United States. The following year, the president demanded to know why the U.S. should accept immigrants from “shithole countries,” including Haiti and African nations, rather than places like Norway.


{snip} On a recent Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Takon stood outside the City of David, a parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Peachtree Corners. A naturalized U.S. citizen from Nigeria, Takon wants to reopen a free community health clinic he established — he is also a doctor — and start an information technology training program in the church’s 60,000-square-foot building.

City of David’s roughly 600 parishioners include people from African and Caribbean nations. Their band features a talking drum — an hourglass-shaped instrument from West Africa. And the song lyrics projected above their stage include subtitles in Yoruba, a language spoken in Nigeria.

Takon said many of his fellow countrymen seeking to come here are Christians who have been persecuted by Islamic extremists. {snip}


Nigerian Interior Minister Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola met late last month with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard about the temporary ban on immigrant visas for Nigerians. His office posted pictures of their meeting on Twitter and indicated Nigeria is making progress in addressing the Trump administration’s concerns.

“Nigeria is too important an ally of America to deserve such a sanction,” Aregbesola said in a statement prior to the meeting, Reuters reported.

Americans were nearly evenly divided in January when asked about the expanded travel ban, according to a Politico/Morning Consult online poll of 1,992 registered voters nationwide. Thirty-nine percent supported an expansion, while 41% opposed it, a difference of opinion within the survey’s margin of error.