Utah Nigerians react to Trump’s travel ban expansion

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Utah’s Nigerian community is speaking out after President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States would soon be imposing visa restrictions on more countries.

“It’s an insult,” said Abiodun Olufeko, Facilitator of 365 Poetry. “We came over here the right way and then you’re banning us to come into the country?”

It’s not clear yet how many, or which nations will be affected by this travel ban expansion but Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is said to be on the list.

Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians live in the U.S. and many call Utah home.

“It’s going to be very difficult. People who are here, that are green card holders, they’ll be afraid to go back to their country right now to see family because they’re afraid that once they get in there, they may not be able to get back out,” Olufeko explained.

Amos Guiora, Professor of Law at the University of Utah told ABC4 News, President Trump has the right to determine who can and cannot enter the U.S.

“But to say that all people from country X or all people from religion Y can’t be granted access to the United States, that’s something that I personally find, not only constitutionally problematic, but it doesn’t make sense.”

Guiora says the tentative list featured Belarus, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.

“As I understand it, most reports say at least Nigeria, but again, is there a specific threat coming from all Nigerians? I haven’t seen anything with respect to that.”

The Nigerian Association of Utah wants to know what security problems the country poses, so it can be fixed.

“Yes we have a lot of Muslims and we have a lot of Christians,” Charles Idehem, the Assistant Financial Secretary for the organization said. “The Nigerian constitution is fashioned after the United States constitution. There are no laws to be afraid of. Nigerians are not terrorists.”

Several political experts said they expected the announcement to be timed to coincide with Monday’s third anniversary of the first, explosive travel ban, announced without warning on Jan. 27, 2017, just days after Trump took office. That order sparked an uproar, with massive protests across the nation and chaos at airports where passengers were detained.

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