Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Trump's new visa, green card restrictions are 'about bigotry,' says critic

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JUDY WOODRUFF: As we reported, the Trump administration announced that it will extend the travel ban

to six more countries.

The latest iteration of the ban will suspend immigrant visas for citizens from four countries:

Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan. And it would bar people from Sudan and Tanzania

from the U.S. diversity visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants.

Our Amna Nawaz has the story.

AMNA NAWAZ: That's right, Judy.

And to talk about what this means we're joined by Farhana Khera. She's the president and

executive director of Muslim Advocates. The group has filed 10 lawsuits against previous

iterations of the travel ban, and is the driving force behind the No Ban Act in Congress. The

act would rescind the travel ban and require the president to meet a more stringent standard

to enact a travel ban in the future.

Farhana, welcome to the "NewsHour."

FARHANA KHERA, President and Executive Director, Muslim Advocates: Thank you. Thank you for

having me.

AMNA NAWAZ: So, let me put to you what the administration said to us today, some senior

Homeland Security and State Department officials.

And let's take a look at the map, so people understand what we're talking about.


AMNA NAWAZ: This is the existing travel ban that is in place right now, those seven nations.

Currently citizens from there are affected, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela,

and North Korea.

This is the updated map, if and when this new travel ban goes into place, as they say,

at the end of February. That's what the expanded map looks like, those countries we just heard


Farhana, they say, the administration, this is about security, that, when these countries

meet a higher standard of vetting and I.D. requirement, the administration will reassess.

What do you say to that?

FARHANA KHERA: I say that's like putting lipstick on a pig, frankly, on that, because what this

is really about is -- unfortunately, it's about bigotry.

The president made very clear when he was running for president that he wanted a total

and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country. In more recent years, he's also

spoken very disdainfully about African immigrants, even saying that he thought Nigerians, once

they come to America, wouldn't want to return to their huts.

And I think what we see today, we can dispense with this notion once and for all, frankly,

that this is a travel ban, because what today's ban very clearly is, is on immigrants, basically,

parents who want to be reunited with their children, fiances wanting to be reunited with

a spouse and who might be married to a green card holder, American citizen.

The ban today doesn't ban visitors. So, what the president is saying, oh, come, we want

your money, we want your labor, come visit here. Be a student. We want those resources.

But don't make America your home.

AMNA NAWAZ: Well, let me ask you about this, because, as Judy reported earlier as well,

it's only a small portion of visas that are affected, right?

You're talking about immigrant visas, people who want to emigrate here and stay. I think

everyone out there remembers what happened after that first travel ban was enacted days

after President Trump took office. There was chaos and confusion at the airports.

It prompted protests across the country, people showing up to say, we don't want this in place.

And then the Trump administration pulled it, reassessed, worked through multiple iterations.

That's now been held up by the Supreme Court.

So, this -- they will say, this is legal. We have the right to be able to do this in

the name of U.S. national security.

FARHANA KHERA: So here's the thing.

What we know, what this policy is actually doing, it's actually ripping families apart.

We see this through the eyes of our clients and our community, where literally tens of

thousands of Americans are hurting today because they are not being allowed to be reunited

with their family members and their loved ones.

And it's not -- it's not rooted in any kind of national security justification at all.

The -- we have not yet seen the administration really kind of justify or explain exactly

how banning babies and grandmothers makes us safer.

A blanket ban doesn't make us safer at all. And the other thing I will add on that point

too, Amna, is, if there truly was a national security justification, if there truly was

a concern about identity management and passport controls, then why would you say it's OK for

tourists to come, right?

Like, why is suddenly that country...


AMNA NAWAZ: ... who apply for tourism visas go through a lower vetting of standard than

people who are applying for green cards.

FARHANA KHERA: Right. Right.

So it seems like it's actually anti-intuitive. It doesn't make sense. And I think that belies

the fact that, fundamentally, this is really about bigotry. And it's about the president's

ultimate agenda is, frankly, a white nationalist agenda to restrict the entry into the United

States of non-Europeans.

He's made that very clear. And that's what these policies are about.

AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask about you something else they have said, which is...


AMNA NAWAZ: ... that the original ban did include one country, Chad.

When it met their standards, it was removed. And they also say people can apply for waivers.

This is not an all-out ban on all citizens. What has been the impact you have seen? And

do those waivers actually get processed?


So what we have found, unfortunately, is that the waiver process is a sham. So, family members

are supposed to be able to get an exception through a waiver. But, in reality, the government

actually hasn't even been clear with the public about how you even apply for a waiver.

And the reality is, is those people who are requesting waivers, they're being reviewed

and approved in an extremely slow manner. There are people who've been waiting literally

three years to be reunited with a fiance, to be reunited with an infant child.

That is way too long. And now, by adding these additional countries, we're inflicting harm

on literally tens of thousands of more Americans.

And if I can just add, Amna, we believe, according to census data, in the United States today,

based on now the 13 countries that are on the banned list, that involves at least a

million Americans. A million Americans have their place of birth in these 13 countries.

And they obviously have family members, some of whom they want to be reunited with.

So this is inflicting harm on people. And this is not about national security at all.

AMNA NAWAZ: Farhana Khera of the Muslim Advocates group, you are president and executive director

there. Thanks very much for being with us tonight.

FARHANA KHERA: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

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