Many are asking what does American President Donald Trump’s 90-day rule barring the entry of foreign nationals into America for the purposes of state security and the fear of terrorism mean for South Africans who are living and working in America.
Some of Mzansi’s favourite celebrities like Trevor Noah who hosts The Daily show, Terry Pheto who has bi-coastal career acting on American and local shows and Pearl Thusi, who is currently featuring in a miniseries called Quantico.
Professor Anthoni van Nieuwkerk, Academic Director at the Wits School of Governance, says South Africans have nothing to worry about; however, the vetting process for those who want to obtain a visa will be more stringent.
“His main focus at the moment is on people coming from Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and other countries of Muslim origin,” he says.
In the executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” which was issued by The White House on Friday, Trump says no one is exempt from being put under suspicion. The president said terrorists have emerged from foreigners coming into the country as visitors, students, or employment visas, as well as through the refugee resettlement programme.
“South Africans don’t need to worry. Trevor Noah does not have an extremist profile, although he might make extreme jokes, he won’t be considered a threat,” he adds.
South Africans in the entertainment industry could be safe, but Trump also speaks about protecting American jobs.
“There are those who work in low-paying jobs, manual labour that often Americans don’t want to do such as domestic work, cleaning toilets and waiting tables,” he adds.
Nieuwkerk believes the fear that Trump is placing in Americans against foreigners will create a situation very similar to xenophobia in South Africa.
The walls that Trump threatens to build around borders to keep foreigners out might not be up physically, but Trump has already begun the process of creating walls of fear in people’s minds, he adds.