Africans Seeking Opportunities in the United States Despite Tough Immigration Laws: An Overview of Guinea and Niger Republic

Imanche, Sunday Adiyoh (PhD)

Source: Reuters
African migrants suffer under crackdown

Based on the 2022 World Factbook Archive, Niger is classified as one of the most impoverished nations globally and exhibits a significant rate of population growth. A significant number of Nigeriens engage in migration to neighboring West African nations, particularly Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, in search of employment prospects. Only a limited number of individuals from Niger travel to the United States, primarily in the capacity as refugees or asylum seekers.

The US and Niger have maintained good diplomatic ties since 1960, working on various issues such as development, security, democracy, and humanitarian aid. The US is a major donor to Niger, providing aid in governance, water and agriculture, health, education, counterterrorism, food security, and peacekeeping. The US recognizes Niger’s humanitarian leadership in providing shelter to refugees and internally displaced individuals. A $442 million Millennium Challenge Corporation agreement was signed between the US and Niger to advance livestock and agriculture industries. The US and Niger are also partners in the Counterterrorism Partnership Fund and the Security Governance Initiative. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken reaffirmed the strategic relationship in March 2023.

However, the following causes are identified as the primary factors driving many Nigeriens to migrate to the US in recent times. The causes are as follows:

Economic opportunities: Numerous Nigeriens emigrate to the United States in pursuit of enhanced economic prospects. The United States has a diverse array of employment prospects and higher remuneration in contrast to Niger, which may allure Nigeriens aspiring to enhance their quality of life.

Education: The United States is renowned for its exceptional education system, prompting Nigeriens to migrate to pursue advanced studies or to offer their children improved educational prospects.

Niger has experienced political instability and intermittent conflicts, prompting several Nigeriens to pursue a more stable and secure environment in the United States.

Family reunification: Certain individuals from Niger may have relatives who are already residing in the United States, and they may opt to migrate to be reunited with their beloved family members.

Healthcare: The United States has highly developed healthcare facilities and services, making it an attractive option for Nigeriens seeking improved medical treatment or access to specialist healthcare.

Seeking to alleviate their impoverished circumstances and enhance their socio-economic status, certain individuals from Niger may choose to migrate to the United States as a means of escaping poverty.

Security concerns: Niger is confronted with security issues, such as terrorism and armed conflicts in specific areas. Nigeriens may emigrate to the United States in pursuit of a more secure habitat for themselves and their children.

Cultural exchange: Certain individuals from Niger may want to immigrate to the United States to immerse themselves in a distinct culture, acquire new linguistic skills, and expand their perspectives.

Guinea is a nation rich in mineral resources and has seen periods of governmental instability and civil unrest in recent years. A substantial proportion of Guinean citizens have migrated to several African countries, such as Senegal and Mali, as well as to Europe, with France being a particularly favored choice. The population of Guinean immigrants in the US in 2019 was quite small, comprising 22,000 people who were born in Guinea.

Due to the recent military revolution that deposed President Alpha Conde in September 2021, the US and Guinea’s diplomatic relations are currently strained. The United States denounced the coup and demanded that Guinea quickly revert to democratic administration and constitutional order. Additionally, the US stopped providing several types of support to the Guinean government and military and revoked Guinea’s trade incentives under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In addition to supporting the efforts of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore democracy and stability in Guinea, the US continues to offer humanitarian and medical assistance to the country’s citizens. The United States and Guinea enjoyed cordial and friendly relations prior to the coup, working together on a range of matters including development, health, and security. The US was crucial in aiding Guinea in its efforts to contain the Ebola outbreaks in 2014–2015 and 2021, as well as in advancing its democratic transition and economic expansion. Once Guinea recovers its constitutional order and respects the will of its people, the United States hopes to once again engage in strategic collaboration with the country.

Guineans travel to the USA for multiple reasons:

 Economic prospects: Numerous Guineans emigrate to the United States in pursuit of improved economic prospects. The United States provides a superior quality of life, improved employment opportunities, and higher remuneration in comparison to Guinea. They aspire to attain more lucrative employment opportunities and ensure a more prosperous future for both themselves and their families.

 Political instability: Guinea has previously encountered periods of political instability and governance characterized by authoritarian control. Individuals may opt to emigrate from their nation to evade political persecution, human rights violations, or political instability. The United States of America, renowned for its robust political system and unwavering commitment to upholding human rights, emerges as an appealing choice for individuals in search of political stability.

 school: The United States is renowned for its exceptional school system, which appeals to several Guineans in search of superior educational prospects. Individuals may choose to relocate to seek higher education degrees, avail themselves of superior research facilities, or take advantage of the diverse academic environment.

Family reunification: Certain Guineans go to the United States to be reunited with their family members who have previously immigrated. They may endeavor to reunite with their husbands, parents, or siblings who are already established in the United States. Migration for the sake of family reunification is a prevalent phenomenon worldwide.

Healthcare: The United States has state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and advanced medical technology, which may be appealing to Guineans in search of improved healthcare alternatives. Individuals may choose to relocate to avail themselves of specialist medical treatments and superior healthcare facilities or to evade substandard healthcare services in Guinea.

Security and safety: Guinea has encountered security issues, such as high crime rates and sporadic instances of violence. Migrants may opt to immigrate to the United States to pursue a more secure and protected setting for themselves and their families.

 Cultural interaction and diversity: Certain Guineans emigrate to the United States to immerse themselves in a distinct culture, discover novel prospects, and expand their perspectives. Individuals may be drawn to the diversity and multiculturalism of the United States since it provides opportunities to engage with many viewpoints, customs, and encounters.

One thought on “Africans Seeking Opportunities in the United States Despite Tough Immigration Laws: An Overview of Guinea and Niger Republic

  • February 17, 2024 at 8:20 am

    One must keep in mind that the motives for migration might differ from person to person, and not all Africans who migrate to the United States of America may do so for the same reasons.


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