The Trump administration is restricting immigrants from six more countries that officials said failed to meet minimum security standards, as part of an election-year push to clamp down further on immigration, the Associated Press reports. Officials said immigrants from Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania will face new restrictions in obtaining certain visas to come to the U.S. It is not a total travel ban, unlike President Donald Trump’s earlier effort that generated outrage for targeting Muslims. Trump signed a proclamation on the restrictions Friday; they go into effect Feb. 21. The announcement came as Trump tries to promote his crackdown on immigration, highlighting a signature issue that motivated supporters in 2016 and hoping it has the same effect this November.
Nonimmigrant visas awarded to those traveling to the U.S. for a temporary stay were not affected. During December, about 650,760 nonimmigrant visas were granted worldwide. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Homeland Security officials would work with the countries on bolstering their security requirements to help them get off the list. The current restrictions follow Trump’s travel ban, which the Supreme Court upheld as lawful in 2018. Trump has said a travel ban is necessary to protect Americans. Opponents argue that he seeks to target Muslim countries, pointing to comments he made as a candidate in 2015 calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Wolf said immigrant visas were chosen because people with those visas are the most difficult to remove after arriving in the United States.