January 31, 2020

Congressman Joe Neguse Responds to Trump’s Muslim and African Travel Ban

Washington D.C.— Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, the son of Eritrean refugees, issued a statement in response to the President’s latest travel ban. The Muslim and African travel ban, announced today, is set to ban refugees from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the U.S. under the policy, while citizens from Sudan and Tanzania will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, which offers green cards to people in countries with low levels of immigration to the U.S., as part of a program that Trump has sought to end. 

“My parents came to America as refugees from Eritrea nearly 40 years ago. Their ability to do so offered me and my family tremendous freedoms and opportunities, and the ability to truly live the American Dream. The President’s reckless ban on African countries does not align with our American values or the promise that our country has offered to immigrants and refugees for centuries, and is yet another example of this administration’s haphazard and xenophobic immigration policy. The United States has long welcomed those who seek safety and refuge with longstanding leadership in refugee resettlement, and we must uphold this commitment and stay true to our fundamental role as a beacon of hope in the world.”

500,000 Eritreans have fled or sought asylum over the last few years, including over 5,000 unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Europe. As U.S. overall refugee admissions have declined, so have refugees being admitted from Eritrea, even though the country remains the fourth largest country of origin for refugees to the United States, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2019, 932 refugees from Eritrea were admitted to the United States. 

Congressman Joe Neguse is the first Eritrean American to serve in the United States Congress.