BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- Concern has been expressed by former St Kitts and Nevis prime minister, now opposition leader, Dr Denzil Douglas, about the potential negative impact of the new US immigration policy implemented by the Trump administration.
“We have seen an executive order that has changed the immigration policy within the United States of America where about 130 million people would have been affected in their travel into the United States of America, even those it would appear who are green card holders or those who at the moment have residency status and are awaiting to be advanced to citizenship of that country,” Douglas said.
US President Donald Trump on Friday banned nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least the next 90 days by executive order.
The order bars entry of all people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as "countries of concern."
The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely.
Trump also has stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.
And the order also calls for a review into suspending the visa interview waiver program, which allows travelers from 38 countries -- including close allies -- to renew travel authorizations without an in-person interview.
Douglas says there is need to question whether the policy will affect St Kitts and Nevis and the rest of the Caribbean.
“So the question arises in our minds, will this affect us here in St Kitts and Nevis? Will this affect us here in the Caribbean region? How will this affect black people and people of a different faith to that which we practice here in St Kitts and Nevis and in the western world at this moment in time?”
The former prime minister made mention of the likely effect on the tourism sector, and pondered on whether medical students coming to educational institutions in the federation could also suffer under the new US policy.
“We are aware that one of the important pillars that drive this economy, is tourism and hospitality services. This means freedom of travel, freedom of movement into our country from the market areas that our tourists and visitors are coming from. Because of globalization, a lot of the traffic in the movement of these people will take them through the United States of America; will this in any way then impede the free flow and movement of people to St Kitts and Nevis as tourists? What about those who are resident here who contribute about 15 percent of our GDP as a result of being students in our very many institutions of higher learning located here in St Kitts and Nevis, but which cater mostly for overseas students? Are they going to be impeded in traveling into and out of St Kitts and Nevis, if their route normally will take them through the United States of America?” he asked.
Douglas also posed a question about the possibility of the US immigration order impacting on the federation’s economic citizens.
Experts examining the policy note that it calls for a process by which only people who “support the Constitution” are allowed into the US.
This has raised questions, they explain, about whether even travelers, business people, students, au pairs, and others will have to meet some kind of test to enter the US for even limited periods of time.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network