Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET
Is Chad “an important and valuable counterterrorism partner of the United States” or is it a nation that “does not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information”? Both, according to the White House proclamation that listed the central African country among seven nations whose citizens are barred indefinitely from the United States.
Not many Chadians will be affected by the Trump administration’s order. In fiscal year 2017, which ends September 30, 141 Chadians entered the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas, including as tourists and for business, according to a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, according to the database, 79 Chadians became permanent U.S. residents (meaning they received a green card) in fiscal 2017. The number of Chadian refugees allowed into the U.S. in the 2017 fiscal year was seven, according to a State Department database.
“It’s bewildering,” Reed Brody, a human-rights lawyer who has worked in Chad, told me in an interview. “I’ve been trying to explain to Chadians that there’s no reason.”
Chad’s inclusion on the list of countries deemed security risks to the U.S. is additionally difficult to explain given its role over the past 15 years as a key counterterrorism ally. In April, U.S. forces participated in annual counterterrorism exercises with their counterparts from around the world in Chad. Chad’s inclusion in the list was met with astonishment in the country, and not only because this close counterterrorism partnership: The country has mostly managed to avoid the kinds of terrorist attacks that have afflicted its immediate neighbors like Nigeria and Mali.