President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday revoking the Trump administration’s travel bans, restricting visitors from predominantly Muslim and African countries.
Biden’s executive order – fulfilling a campaign promise to lift travel bans on former President Donald Trump on the first day of his administration – instructs the State Department to restart visa processing for people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. , Venezuela, and Nigeria.
Trump’s first travel ban, which took effect on January 27, 2017, created chaos and confusion around the world. Lawyers and protesters stormed U.S. airports in an attempt to help stranded passengers who were caught in the ban and facing deportation. The ban will continue to keep families separated for years and refugees abroad.
Harsha Panduranga, a lawyer with the Brennan Center̵
“It’s a really big deal,” Panduranga told BuzzFeed News. “Thousands of people are separated from their loved ones, and Biden has done a good job, apparently rejecting politics as a racially and religiously biased ban.”
Panduranga called on the new administration to act as quickly as possible by creating a clear guide to lifting travel bans.
Zahra Biloo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area office at the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Biden’s executive order corrected the course of so many disrupted lives in the United States and abroad. The Biden administration is also sending the message that anti-Muslim immigration policies will not be tolerated, Bill added.
“Tens of thousands of affected people will now have the chance to be with their families during cherished and challenging times,” Bill said in a statement. “While we know that our work is far from over, today we celebrate the heroic efforts made by so many over the past few years in our efforts to lift the bans on Muslims and Africans.”
Removing the “damage” caused by travel bans, as the Biden administration put it, will take more than just reversing Trump’s enforcement action and resuming visa processing. Biden’s executive order also instructs the US government to develop a 45-day plan to deal with cases of people left in the exemption process, which provides exemptions for those who need visas and would otherwise qualified to receive such.
Biden’s executive order also calls on the Secretary of State to develop a proposal so that people who have been denied visas because of Trump’s bans can reconsider their applications. The plan should consider whether to reopen immigrant visa applications that have been denied due to two of Trump’s travel bans and whether it is necessary to charge an additional fee for processing them, the executive order said.
A 2019 analysis by the Cato Institute, based in the DC Libertarian Brain Trust, found that the travel ban kept about 15,000 spouses and adopted children of U.S. citizens at a distance.
The first ban and subsequent version were challenged and rejected by lower courts, but the Supreme Court upheld a third iteration in 2018. Travel restrictions were later extended to six countries, four of them in Africa.
People from 13 countries end up facing travel restrictions, including Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Eritrea, Sudan and Tanzania.
One of the Supreme Court’s excuses in support of Trump’s ban was that his presidential proclamation included a waiver program that provided exceptions. The Bridge initiative, a research project based at Georgetown University that focuses on anti-Muslim sentiment, found that 74% of visa waivers were denied between December 2017 and April 2020 for all countries affected by the bans.
Opponents of Trump’s ban say it discriminates against Muslims. In 2015, his campaign issued a statement calling for a “complete and complete halt to Muslims” entering the United States while the country “can understand what is happening.”
Aarti Kohli, executive director of the Asian-American Justice Advances, the Asian Legal Council, said Biden’s lifting of Trump’s travel bans was a victory for their communities and those who oppose them.
“Four years ago, we saw people of all races and religions unite to stand up against the bans that have divided families and ruined lives,” Collie said in a statement. “As we celebrate the outcome of persistent advocacy, we will continue to provide pressure on the Biden administration to take bold action, repair the damage of the last four years and ensure justice for our immigrant communities. “