The Trump administration announced a travel ban on citizens of Nigeria, to go into effect later this month. As soon as this was publicized, this Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer‘s phone started ringing off the wall and the emails began to pile up.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest country and it is one of the top oil-producing nations in the world. Most large oil companies like Shell, Chevron and others have a large presence in Nigeria. Moreover, these companies often move Nigerian petroleum engineers and other management employees back and forth between Nigeria and the U.S. But oil is not the only industry that will be affected by the all-out travel ban.
The tourism industry will be hit very hard. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Nigerians traveling to the U.S. every year.Many come to visit family that live here and have immigrated here.
Just this morning I was thinking about the annual International Bar Association (IBA) conference which will be held in Miami later this year. Usually, the Nigerian delegation of lawyers and judges attending this international event is close to 1,000. With the new countries being added to the travel ban, I would have to think this will be the last IBA annual conference held in America. There are just too many lawyers and judges who would otherwise attend but are being barred by the current administration.
The number of flights that will be lost to the travel ban, and the effect on the Miami economy (hotel rooms, registration fees, restaurants, etc) from the loss of almost 1000 lawyers and judges coming from Nigeria for this event will be huge.
Many of my clients from Nigeria are in the oil industry and worry about their families and separation from their families. Some are working in Nigeria for Chevron or Shell or Schlumberger, while their spouse and children are in the U.S. on student visas. The spouse working in Nigeria will typically come 3-4 times a year to visit with their family in Houston or California or Alaska, where they typically live in the U.S.
Our office will be able to continue the green card process of visa petitions for these workers, but the actual issuance of an immigrant visa (following approval of a visa petition) will be barred. For those oil and gas workers from Nigeria who are temporarily working in the U.S. right now, they will be able to finish their green card cases and receive a green card as long as they stay here. It is only those who must get a visa at a USA Embassy who will likely be affected by the ban. And, certainly lawyers, judges, tourists and students trying to fly to the U.S. with a temporary visa will be barred from entry.