The United States on Thursday said it would no longer issue temporary visitor visas to pregnant women seeking to enter the country for so-called “birth tourism.”
In announcing the rule change, which takes effect Friday, the White House said foreigners were using the visas “to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.”
“The integrity of American citizenship must be protected,” it said in a statement.
Calling the practice “a glaring immigration loophole,” the White House argued the crackdown on “birth tourism” was for public safety and national security as well as immigration control.
“The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in federal prosecution.”
The US constitution guarantees automatic American citizenship to anyone born on US soil.
US President Donald Trump has made restricting immigration a top priority of his administration and has threatened in the past to abolish birthright citizenship.
“As armed services, we cannot afford to be careless with the weapon. Hence all officers of the Service will undergo drug test, beginning with me,” Babandede was quoted as saying in the statement.
He added, “We shall not dismiss anyone at first discovery, but try to rehabilitate. If the fellow continued unrepentant, administrative procedures will be followed and appropriate sanctions applied.”
The Immigration boss reiterated the need for the officers to put what they learned into action, noting that the Service has invested so much into training and capacity development.
He also encouraged the participants to maximise the knowledge of ICT gained to uplift the standard expected of the service among other sister agencies, without competing but complementing each other wherever and whenever the need arises.
Babandede described the ‘Visa on Arrival’ policy as a huge opportunity for Africans coming for legitimate businesses to thrive in countries other than their nations.
According to him, it is also a means of integration and cementing African brotherhood relationships, thereby breaking down the barriers to free movement among fellow Africans.
The comptroller general assured Nigerians that the policy would be handled professionally while adopting best known global practices to liberalise the ‘Visa on Arrival’ regime without compromising national security.
He recalled the presidential amnesty granted by President Muhammadu Buhari for non-Nigerians to register with the Federal Government, stressing that the six-month window would expire in January 2020.
Babandede, however, said registration would continue to enable every migrant get registered and remain in the country.
He warned that any defaulter who refuses to take advantage of the opportunity would be removed from the country.
Babandede disclosed that the NIS has put in place some measures to identify foreigners and tackle illegal immigration in the country.
He said airports would henceforth capture biometrics of foreigners in order to compile a comprehensive database of those who come in and out of the country.
According to the NIS boss, the free e-registration process is currently ongoing in five states of the Federation.
He added that the Immigration has successfully registered over 4,000 migrants between July and September 2019.
Babandede explained that the registration of foreigners was aimed at promoting security in the country while the 90-day amnesty programme would lapse on January 11, 2020.
On August 26, the NIS boss had said that the Federal Government would not hesitate to kick out anyone found culpable after the amnesty granted by the President ended.
He noted that President Buhari saw the significance of having correct data of citizens and visitors in the country, saying it would help the government make good policies to improve the nation’s economy and tackle its security challenges among others.
“After the amnesty programme, any person who enters this territory and stays for a period of 90 days, there is a penalty for him for not registering and there is a penalty for the person who provides accommodation for him.
“This amnesty, once it ends, we will remove and arrest any person who has not registered. So we are prepared to remove any person who has not registered from this country after the amnesty,” Babandede had said during an interview on Channels Television’sSunrise Daily.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday clarified the controversy surrounding the reports on the closure of the nation’s borders.
Contrary to the reports, the Comptroller-General of NIS, Mr Muhammad Babandede, stated that no border has been closed.
He, however, explained that the Service was conducting an operation with the Nigeria Customs Service at the borders.
“There is no border closure, but there was a border drill and there was an announcement from the office of the National Security Adviser,” Babandede said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
He added, “Our spokesperson for the closure is the Nigeria Customs because this operation is jointly carried out by the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigeria Customs; it is a border drill.
“You know very well that a safe border is a safe nation. So we are securing these borders for our national interest.”
Eniolorunda said that the Command worked on a lead which came from interrogating one Lucky Otuba, a suspected member of the gang who accompanied the mother of the victims to report the case.
He added that they moved into action by contacting other anti-human trafficking agencies, including the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) which led to their rescue from the syndicate led by one Madam Taye based in Mali.
“Our efforts actually paid off as they were able to track them in Mali, identify them and hand over to our embassy and through the help of IOM, one of our principal partners, they were brought to Lagos and subsequently to us in Benin,” the Immigration Comptroller said.
Narrating her ordeal, Miriam told Channels Television that the whole incident has remained confusing as she cannot really tell how they agreed to go on the trip.
She said the person who recruited them for the journey, one Madam Blessing, had told them that they were going to work as hairdressers in Senegal before ending up in Mali where they were eventually rescued.
The victim said, “I cannot explain how we agreed to travel with her. it is as if we were not with our senses.”
United States President Donald Trump has ordered border agents to begin a mass roundup as early as Sunday of some 2,000 migrant families that have received deportation orders, US media reported Friday.
The news follows the president’s announcement on Twitter Monday that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials would begin deporting “millions of illegal aliens,” although he gave little detail.
The tweet sped up operations that were already underway, according to unnamed sources cited by the Washington Post, NBC and CNN.
The family roundup will likely begin with pre-dawn raids in up to 10 cities including Houston, Chicago, New York, and Miami.
Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, is hesitant about parts of the operation, CNN reported.
He has been urging ICE to mainly focus on some 150 families that had attorneys but have dropped out of the legal process and vanished, the Post reported.
The US is facing a surge in migrants from several Central American countries plagued by gang violence and poverty.
The numbers have hampered US authorities’ abilities to temporarily shelter and process arrivals.
Trump has called it “an invasion,” and has made the fight against illegal migration a central plank of his administration.
An estimated 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants are living in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center.
Migrant apprehensions have soared to 144,000, including 57,000 minors, in May — the highest number in 13 years.
Congress has authorized ICE to detain 40,000 migrants, and many others are sent to other overcrowded facilities across the nation.
In 2017 the Trump administration imposed a “zero tolerance” regime on the US border with Mexico, which resulted in hundreds of families being split up.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has migrated to a web-based Visa-on-Arrival application platform.
Prior to the development, applicants for Visa-on-Arrival were required to forward applications via a dedicated email address or hard copy to the Comptroller General for approval.
But with the web-based regime taking effect from May 13, applicants are only required to log on to the NIS website, where they can apply for the facility, make payments and receive approvals online.
“It is fully automated and user-friendly,” the NIS said via Twitter on Tuesday.
It further stated that the Comptroller General the service, Muhammad Babandede, MFR called on genuine investors to take advantage of the innovation as it will improve migration as well as transparency in the system in line with Federal Government’s policy on Ease of Doing Business.
The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has postponed the rollout of the new 10-year enhanced e-passport to April 29, 2019.
This is contained in a statement by the spokesperson of the NIS, Sunday James, who explained that the decision was to enable the Service to finalize the integration of the National Identity Number (NIN) with the new passport.
“Consequent upon this, the price of the current passport still remains the same,” he explained in the statement.
The NIS passport reforms involve the introduction of different categories of passport with various approved fees.
According to the NIS, the new passport with 32 pages will cost N25,000 and $130 abroad; the 64 pages with five years expiration time will cost N35,000 and $150 abroad while the 64 pages with 10-year validity will cost N70,000 in Nigeria and $230 abroad.
The enhanced passport was officially launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on January 16, 2019, who was immediately issued his own 10-year validity passport by the Comptroller General of Immigration, Mohammad Babandede.
Mr. Babandede later explained the advantages of the new passport, which he said would make it easier for security management.
Besides the 10-year validity, he said the new versions contain self-tracking of application, weather friendliness, polycarbonate technology to guard against damage and compliance with ICAO standard, among other features.
President Donald Trump rallied right-wing activists Saturday with a speech offering conservative red meat on immigration, trade and the threat of “socialism” as he sought to move on from a bruising week in domestic and international politics.
“We believe in the American dream, not in the socialist nightmare,” he said to boisterous applause from hundreds of supporters at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) near Washington.
“America will never be a socialist country,” Trump added in a mammoth two-hour speech that seemed to draw energy from the fervent reception offered by some of his influential supporters in the room.
It was his first public appearance since coming home empty-handed, and to criticism from all sides, after a nuclear-disarmament summit with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. He told CPAC the meeting was “very productive” — but that he would not “make a deal just for the sake of doing it.”
The White House is also smarting from explosive testimony on Capitol Hill by Trump’s former lawyer and fixer on Wednesday that branded him a cheat and a racist.
Trump, often speaking in mocking tones, portrayed the Green New Deal climate strategy touted by the left of the Democratic party as a socialist plan that will devastate the fossil fuel and automotive industries.
He said progressive healthcare policies would “lead to colossal tax increases” — and accused the Democrats of having “totally abandoned the American mainstream” on issue such as immigration and abortion.
‘These people are sick’
With the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia reportedly approaching its conclusion, Trump again berated Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as partisan hacks out to get him, adding that “these people are sick.”
His voice dripping with sarcasm, he suggested that his call in summer of 2016 for Russia to find and release Hillary Clinton’s emails was a joke that had been obtusely taken at face value by the media.
On the foreign front, Trump repeated his claim that the last Islamic State group fighters in Syria would be captured or killed imminently — “as of tomorrow” — after on Thursday telling US troops “we just took over” 100 per cent of the caliphate. Two weeks earlier Trump had declared the fall of the so-called caliphate would be announced “over the next 24 hours.”
He railed against Chinese tariffs on American goods and said the US loses $500 billion a year to the world’s second-biggest economy — “such a disaster.”
Trump regularly ignores the dominant US services sector to focus only on goods, when in 2017 the US trade deficit with China was actually $337 billion — not $500 billion.
Trump last year initiated a tariff war with Beijing, which has taken a nasty bite out of US growth. Although both sides say they are now close to resolving the dispute Trump insisted he’s “fine with it” and told his supporters: “The beauty is this. I have $250 billion more to put tariffs on.”
The word “socialism” has been in heavy rotation since some Democratic candidates began openly embracing liberal platforms including the Green New Deal and a Medicare for All.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the four-day conference in National Harbor, Maryland, to warn that Democrats are taking a “hard left turn” ahead of 2020.
“Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the last century. That system is socialism,” he said.
Trump’s speech came at the same time Senator Bernie Sanders, who has embraced the label of “democratic socialist,” spoke at a rally in New York, assailing Trump as “the most dangerous president in modern American history.”
‘Freedom’ or ‘socialism’
It was Sanders’ first major speech since announcing he will again seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Republicans hoped Trump’s address would serve as a diversion from the Mueller investigation and to the testimony this week on Capitol Hill by the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen implicating him in crimes.
In December a court sentenced Cohen to three years in prison for hush-money payments to two women and for lies to Congress — both of which he said were to protect Trump — and tax evasion.
During Cohen’s testimony the president was in Vietnam where a high-stakes second summit between Trump and Kim broke up in disarray Thursday, without even a joint statement. The pair failed to reach an agreement on curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage was granted release on bond from US immigration detention Tuesday, his lawyers said — nine days after his arrest sparked outrage among fellow music stars, fans and immigrant rights advocates alike.
“Today, 21 Savage was granted a release on bond. He won his freedom,” Charles Kuck, Dina LaPolt and Alex Spiro, representing 21 Savage, said in a statement. Kuck confirmed the rapper will be released Wednesday.
21 Savage, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested February 3 in the southern city of Atlanta by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who said he was British and had been living in the United States illegally since overstaying his visa from 2006.
His legal team did not immediately clarify what comes next in the case of the 26-year-old rapper, whose chart-topping latest album “I Am > I Was” was released in December.
Previously, they acknowledged that he was British, brought to the US aged seven, and lost his legal status in the US when he was a child “through no fault of his own.”
They also said he has a pending application for a U visa — for victims of crimes who have faced mental or physical abuse in the US — that was filed “as a result of being the victim of a deadly shooting in 2013” — and that his three US citizen children make him eligible for deportation relief.
On Tuesday, 21 Savage’s lawyers also passed on a message to the young rapper’s fans, saying that while he was not at Sunday’s Grammys Awards — “he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world.”
Rapper Post Malone performed hit track “Rockstar,” which features 21 Savage, alone at the show in Los Angeles. The song won the pair two Grammy nominations.
A petition demanding 21 Savage’s release was signed by more than 460,000 people — with Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among those backing the campaign for his freedom.