United States President, Joe Biden, has signed an executive order revoking the immigrant visa ban placed on Nigerians by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Trump had last February placed an immigrant visa ban on Nigeria, citing Nigeria’s lack of a robust database.
Then acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, had said the travel restrictions were to “address security concerns in the way the banned countries track their own citizens, share information with the U.S. and cooperate on immigration matters”.
The American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary-Beth Leonard, also stated that Nigeria must improve on its data intelligence to ease the investigation of its citizens wishing to migrate to the US, if it wants the ban lifted.
The Nigerian government subsequently set up a committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation to address the complaints of the US.
But hours after assuming office as president, Biden issued an executive order that reversed the ban.
The 46th US president said, “immigrants have helped strengthen America’s families, communities, businesses and workforce, and economy, infusing the United States with creativity, energy, and ingenuity”.
ALEDEH News had earlier on Thursday reported that Biden signed an executive action ending restrictions on travel and immigration from some predominantly Muslim countries. The restrictions imposed by Trump were often referred to as the “Muslim Ban”.
Biden’s action directs the State Department to resume visa processing for those countries and develop a plan to address people affected, such as those who were denied entry to the US.
It also orders reviews of other “extreme vetting” practices used by the Trump administration, while directing the US to improve information-sharing with foreign governments to bolster screening of travellers.