A new travel ban bars ships from the tiny island of Nauru
Foreign Policy, Immigration

A new travel ban bars ships from the tiny island of Nauru

The Coast Guard Says Ships Stopping at the Isolated Country Must Tighten Security or Won’t Be Allowed in U.S. Ports

Nauru, a tiny Pacific island near the equator between Australia and Hawaii, is the latest nation to be blackballed by the Trump administration.

Trump’s Coast Guard says that vessels that have recently visited the country, about 8 miles square with a population of about 10,000, must increase their security if they want to come to U.S. ports, starting April 14. This security could include armed, private security guards.

Boats that have recently visited 17 other countries, including Cambodia, Iran, Libya and Syria, also won’t be able to come to the United States unless they increase their security. Trump’s Coast Guard says those countries have deficient anti-terrorism measures.

Most of the country is wasteland from decades of strip mining phosphates used in fertilizer. The New York Times called Nauru “the most environmentally ravaged nation on earth.” Nauru once was a hub of Russian money laundering.

Warehousing refugees for Australia is now a major Naru industry. They refugees are held under  conditions that Amnesty International called “an open-air prison.” One Iraqi refugee told an investigator for Amnesty International “Here, I am dying a thousand times.”

The conditions on Nauru are so bad that some of the 1,159 refugees and asylum-seekers living on the island mutilate themselves or try to commit suicide. The refugees come from primarily Muslim nations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria.

Trump lashed out on Twitter in February over an agreement reached under former President Barack Obama for up to 1,250 refugees from Nauru and another Pacific island to come to the United States.

I don’t want these people,” he said.

U.S. security officers have started fingerprinting refugees who want to come to the United States. Trump has said they will be subject to “extreme vetting.” What that means is unclear.

As with his Muslim ban, which has been halted by federal judges, Trump has been much more friendly to Muslim countries where he does business – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emigrates. Vessels that have recently visited those countries aren’t on Trump’s security risk list.

Terrorists from those three countries murdered 2,845 people in our country from 1975 to 2015, mostly in the 9-11 attacks. No one has been killed in our country by terrorists from the countries on Trump’s latest list of bad hombres.

What Nauru also has in common with the countries on Trump’s Muslim ban is Muslim refugees, people Trump wants to block from our America.

An Australian official told a Senate committee in that country that the agreement between the U.S. and Australia doesn’t commit our country to take a definite number of refugees.

The official, Andrew Goledzinowski, who works for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was asked if that meant the U.S. could take no one and still claim it had complied with the agreement.

“Technically, I think that’s the case,” Goledzinowski said.

ACTION BOX / What you can do about it

Call Charles W. Ray, the Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for operations at 202-372-4411 or write him at 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20593-7000.

April 3, 2017