U.S. Travel Ban Dashes Resettlement Hope for 26,000 Somali Refugees

The UN High Commissioner’s Nairobi office has disclosed that about 26,000 Somali refugees in Kenya may be unable to resettle in the United States, following the US government’s travel ban on Somalia.

According to the report, only half of the 26,000 refugees had already been interviewed by the US state department, and were expected to arrive in the United States in February. The 13,000 interviewed refugees, once with high hopes, now feel “…shocked, depressed, despairing and heartbroken…” because the ban halts aspirations for a better life.

A UNHCR representative from Kenya noted that the process of refugee resettlement from the country could take up to a decade due to extensive medical checks and interviews with selected refugees.

The journey to resettlement in the United States can be particularly arduous for African refugees, many of whom are often desperate to escape precarious living conditions. Critics of the travel ban argue against its place, since the U.S. has a well-functioning vetting process for refugee applications. Meanwhile, proponents of the policy argue otherwise, noting that current global political instabilities render the US’ vetting process susceptible to vulnerabilities which could be costly to the safety of American citizens.

In any case, the executive order – and its global immigration implications – reveals the need for African scholars and government officials to better understand and address the impact globalization has on contemporary human life, especially on the continent.

That a travel ban denies two Ethiopian and Sudanese children with chronic illnesses (cancer and congenital heart failure) the opportunity for life-saving treatment should cause our leaders to look inward, to determine how Africans can develop health care infrastructure.

Coincidentally, Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari continues to be absent from his country as he seeks medical treatment in the UK.

Trump’s nationalist, and arguably isolationist approach to governance should inspire African leaders to take actionable steps towards the continent’s socio-economic development, to the extent that this co-exists with healthy cross-continental relations.

Read More

%d bloggers like this: