Why U.S. Congress should reverse Nigeria visa ban, by group

By Valentine Amanze

U.S.-based group, Concerned African professionals in the U.S. and American citizens, has condemned the country’s ban on issuance of visa to Nigerians.

The group, which members include H. Iya (Health Sector); C. Nwaohia (Health Sector); C. Mba, C. Onwuelezi,M. Akanu and Emmanuel Ogebe, also reminded the U.S Congress the role Nigerians and some other Africans are playing in sustaining the country’s economy.

In a statement titled, “Please end Xenophobic policies that harm America - NO BAN ACT”, the group condemned the immigration policy, while calling for its reversal.
It also reminded the U.S. Congress that in May, President Donald Trump’s Executive Order halted new H-1B, H-2B, J and L non-immigrant visas “to protect American Jobs,” which the group said “actually harms American jobs because nearly half of all Fortune 500 Companies were founded by immigrants or their children.

It said that revenue brought in by these companies was $1.1 trillion more than Japan’s entire gross domestic product and $2.1 trillion more than Germany’s GDP, while giving credit to Immigration Attorney Mark Ashley.

“Immigrants account for approximately ½ of all U.S. patents and own 25 per cent of all small business. Immigration has been America’s secret sauce. America would not be America without the contributions from immigrants clinging to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence” it stated, stressing, “Diversity has made America Grea.”

For instance, it said that Apple, the company which value exceeds the GDP of many countries, was founded by Steve Jobs born to Syrian immigrants.

“The Kardashians are also of Syrian immigrant descent.

“Melania Trump is probably the first immigrant and newly naturalized First Lady of the US who came to America under the very same visas her husband has just suspended for others.

“Interestingly, president Trump himself is arguably from the newest immigrant family to be president,” the group said.

The group pointed out that the ban on immigration from Nigeria was particularly deleterious to US public health security.
According to it, “In 1993, the UN Human Development Report said over 21,000 Nigerian doctors practiced in the US (Some reports claim this number has since doubled).

“One in four doctors in the US are immigrants and one in three nurses are immigrants. Nigerians reportedly comprise up to 50% of Black doctors in the United States!”

It stressed that given the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed the lives of 140,000 Americans (25% of global deaths though the US is only 4% of world population) overwhelming medical infrastructure, more, not fewer immigrant medics are needed.”

It pointed out that one hospital in New York lost 30% of its staff to COVID19.
“Going by that data, almost the entire immigrant factor of 30% nurses/25% doctors would need to be replenished just to reach pre-COVID-19 levels!” it said.

The group reminded the US government that no Nigerian immigrant has ever been involved in terrorism in the US.

“Conversely, last year’s terrorist attack in the US was by one of over 200 Saudis training with the US military. Yet Saudi Arabia, 19 of whose citizens killed 3,000 Americans in the 911 terrorist attacks is not banned by the US as Nigeria is. Both attacks were by Al Qeda, the group said.

It also said that last year, Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when asked if he had received intelligence reports from the US when they invaded Afghanistan, that they found amongst the foreign fighters, alongside Alqaeda, several Nigerian citizens, was visibly surprised.

At the Wilson Centre in Washington, Obasanjo said that he never received any such intelligence about Nigerians in Afghanistan from the US, according to the group.

It said that 11,000 Nigerian international students attend schools in the US, bringing in over half a billion dollars annually - the equivalent of a good sized university or three community colleges.

“Many of these students are courageous people who defied a terror group opposed to western education to keep schooling.

It said that Nigerian students who comprise 1% of the 1 million international students paying half a billion dollars in fees shows International students subsidize educational costs for American students who pay much lower fees than they do.

The United Kingdom proposed a visa restriction on Nigeria but it was reversed within days after the new government was made to realize the hundreds of millions of pounds injected into the UK economy by Nigerian international students exceeds the entire national budget for education in Nigeria, the group said.
And therefore appealed to the US government to a change of hart on the visa issue.

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