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Trump's Executive Order On Entry: Which Countries Will Be Next?

Trump's Executive Order On Entry: Which Countries Will Be Next?
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President Donald Trump has gotten a lot of backlash from his Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, colloquially referred to as a travel ban by Trump himself, despite the insistence from Press Sec. Sean Spicer to the contrary.

The Executive Order signed Friday freezes all admittance of Syrian refugees indefinitely, withholds entrance on all other refugees for 120 days and restricts all entrance into the country from seven foreign countries for 90 days. While confusion remains over the status of individuals from these seven countries who hold valid green cards, the limitations definitively include U.S. workers who have valid H1-B work visas.*

U.S. Companies Employing From The 7

U.S. companies with employees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could see a major impact if Trump places more restrictions on visas granted to citizens of these countries. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), for example, says it has 76 employees from the nations included in the current ban.

While plenty of tech companies have expressed concern over the current ban, none of the countries included in the ban are major sources of foreign talent in the United States. However, over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Trump could certainly consider adding additional countries to the travel ban in coming weeks.

“The countries that were chosen in the executive order to protect Americans from terrorists were the countries that have already been identified by Congress and the Obama administration,” Priebus said. “That does not mean that other countries wouldn’t be added to a subsequent executive order.”

'Not A Muslim Ban'

Each of the seven countries included in the current ban is majority-Muslim. However, Trump has been adamant that the travel ban has nothing to do with religion.

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” Trump said. “This is not about religion — this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

Terror-Laden Countries

If terror is the true driver behind the bans, Trump may have some tough decisions to make. The Institute for Economics and Peace’s Global Terrorism Index ranks countries around the world based on the prevalence of terrorist activities within their borders. In addition to the seven countries already included in Trump’s travel ban, the top-scoring countries on the Terrorism Index include some names with significant economic ties to Trump and the U.S. economy.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Egypt all rank in the top 10 countries on the Terrorism Index. In addition, each of these four nations scores higher than Libya, which is included in the current ban.

While none of the countries in the current ban are major sources of foreign labor for U.S. companies, the United States issues more non-immigrant travel visas to Indian citizens than any other country other than China and Mexico. According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States issued 961,423 non-immigrant visas to Indians in 2015.

Of course, India is not majority-Muslim — nearly 80 percent of Indians are Hindu. Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan are all more than 90 percent Muslim.

Some Trump critics have accused Trump of leaving Egypt off the travel ban because he has at least two business ties to the country and the Egyptian president was supportive of Trump during the campaign. In addition to Egypt ranking in the top 10 on the Terrorism Index, the 9/11 hijackers came from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon, none of which are part of the current travel ban.

The current ban will likely have minimal impact on the U.S. economy. However, if it is extended to other countries, it could really start to impact certain companies’ bottom lines. IT firm Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (NASDAQ: CTSH) and Indian technology and consulting company Infosys Ltd ADR (NYSE: INFY) have more employees with H1-B visas than any other companies. Together, the two companies have more than 24,000 employees with work visas, many of whom are Indian citizens.

In addition to Cognizant and Infosys, Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN) and International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are among the companies with the most H1-B visa employees.

Editor Note: *The wording of the Executive Order includes the following: " I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas)."

Image Credit: By James Mattis - 170127-D-GY869-006, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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