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Indiana’s Chin community expresses dismay, hope over US travel ban extension

Indiana’s Chin community expresses dismay, hope over US travel ban extension

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Concern grew in Indiana’s Chin population after Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was one of six countries added to the Trump administration’s travel ban list.

The new stringent travel restrictions were announced on Friday.

Nearly 20,000 Burmese people, , or people of Myanmar, live in the Indianapolis area. That number grows to 35,000 Burmese people across central and northern Indiana, according to the Chin Community of Indiana.

Juno Siang was born in Burma and came to the United States 11 years ago as a refugee. “You have the possibilities as long as you can work toward it.”

He is now a U.S. citizen. He’s waiting on his grandmother to immigrate to the United States from Myanmar.

“Limiting the chance of the people back there of even the hope that they can get here someday as, of course, legal immigrants, cutting off that growth for them is really rally sad,” Siang said.

New immigration restrictions were announce Friday for Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar. The U.S. will suspend issuing visas that can lead to permanent residency for nationals of Myanmar and three of those nations.

Peter Thawnghmung, board president of Chin Community of Indiana, said Monday, “The initial reaction is always nervousness, anxiety, concern to say the least.”

The Trump administration argued the travel ban, issued during an election year for the U.S., is vital to national security and ensures countries meet U.S. security and information-sharing standards.

“The Burmese, the Chin people are not being picked on,” Thawnghmung said. “This is something the U.S. government requires, and it’s being imposed upon us. Of course, it’s going to affect us, but we have hope that we will work this through.”

Siang’s grandmother will have to wait even longer to move to the U.S. “Everybody just has to, like, put a stop on their hopes and dreams.” Siang said.

A presidential proclamation said temporary visas for tourists, business people, students and workers from those nations will not be affected. The U.S. State Department says there is Level 2 travel advisory for Myanmar, which means increased caution in Myanmar because of civil unrest and armed conflict in some areas.

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