The Trump administration has suspended migration visas to citizens from Kyrgyzstan, which has angered the small Central Asian nation who of the five in the area is the strongest US ally.
On Friday, the United States announced new restrictions on the issuance of visas to citizens of six countries, including Kyrgyzstan.
In a lengthy proclamation issued on January 31, the White House explained its rationale for imposing a series of visa and travel restrictions on citizens of several countries since Donald Trump took office in January 2017.
The administration says it has established a system to assess three criteria — “whether a foreign government engages in reliable identity-management practices and shares relevant information; whether a foreign government shares national security and public safety information; and whether a country otherwise poses a national security or public-safety risk.” As a result, it says, several countries have been subject to entry restrictions.
Given increased information and “more granular data,” the latest review of countries has resulted in new restrictions on six countries: Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
The new set of countries, however, have more tailored restrictions than earlier waves and the proclamation makes reference to a 180-day window for improvement. Though not directly named, the administration references “one country” that had been recommended for restrictions in a September 2019 report but which was not included on the January 2020 proposal because of “exceptional progress in correcting deficiencies.” This may be a reference to Belarus, which appeared in a Politico report two weeks ago on a the draft list of seven countries being considered for travel restrictions. The other six appear in the January 31 proclamation. (source)
As the report notes, this is being done largely because of claims of ‘security’.
In all seriousness, there is no ‘security’ threat from Kyrgyzstan.
The nation is the smallest and the poorest of all five Central Asian nations, whose closests competitor for poverty is her neighbor of Tajikistan. There is no wave of Kyrgyz immigrants to the US, as most Kyrgyz migrants head north to Russia, where even the meager approximately $8000 USD per year salary is equivalent to approximately over four years of the national Kyrgyz average salary. This does not even include the violence and political instability that has wracked that nation for years.
In a comparable sense, Kyrgyzstan is to Russia as Guatemala, Honduras, or Mexico is to the US. They are both the ‘minority’ groups as well as work in poor occupations for very low wages in bad conditions and are very grateful for it.
The actions of the Trump administration have nothing to do with security. This is strictly a political move that, coming in the 2020 election year, can be sold to his base as “proof” of him being “tough on immigration”, when in reality he is just beating up opportunities for poor people who largely do not come to the US at all.
It is essentially a variant of the “Emancipation Proclamation”, except instead of declaring that all slaves were free in a foreign nation (except for those states that bordered the Confederacy), this barring “migrants” in the name of MAGA from migrating to the US when the reality is that almost all of them simply go to neighboring Russia because the opportunities are there and it is an (equivalent) New York to Pittsburgh or Denver (depending on whether one wants to go just over the Russian border or to St. Petersburg) car, truck, or train ride away as opposed to buying a ticket for a plane ride halfway around the world. That is, if they can even afford the plane ticket.