Jan 20, 2021
With the stroke of a pen, President Joe Biden has ended his predecessor’s ban on vacationers getting into the United States from a number of Middle Eastern and African nations, fulfilling a marketing campaign pledge to dismantle insurance policies seen as discriminatory towards Muslims.
Per week after taking workplace in January 2017, President Donald Trump issued an govt order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority international locations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syrian, Sudan and Yemen — that he mentioned posed a nationwide safety menace. The rapidly introduced travel ban created scenes of chaos at worldwide airports, a slew of federal lawsuits and protests throughout the nation.
Early iterations of the travel ban, which adopted Trump’s marketing campaign path feedback calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” have been struck down by federal courts. The Supreme Court in 2018 upheld a revised model that additionally barred vacationers from North Korea and sure Venezuelan authorities officers. Last yr, the Trump administration imposed further restrictions on travel from Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. Iraq was dropped from the record of banned international locations in 2017.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, mentioned Biden’s choice to overturn the Trump-era travel ban Wednesday sends a transparent message that the United States will as soon as once more be a welcoming nation for immigrants and refugees.
“Turning the page on this dark chapter in American history is the first step in rebuilding and reimagining an immigration system that works humanely and justly for all,” Vignarajah mentioned. “The concern is going to be, what does the pipeline of individuals abroad look like and how quickly can we resume the program?”
Processing the backlog of visa purposes received’t be simple. US immigration and consular officers must kind by the 1000’s of names languishing in a type of limbo often known as “administrative processing” the place purposes are despatched for additional evaluate.
Those who have been initially denied entry because of the travel ban may wish to reapply. A waiver course of allowed candidates who met sure standards to achieve entry to the United States, however critics mentioned the system was complicated and arbitrary. Between December 2017 and March 2019, simply 5% of those that had utilized for a waiver have been granted one, in response to State Department figures.
To complicate issues for the brand new administration, the coronavirus has slowed down the processing of visas throughout all US consulates, mentioned Muzaffar Chishti, senior fellow on the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
“Government machinery is very difficult to unwind in the best of circumstances,” Chishti mentioned. “The pandemic adds a layer of complexity to this.”
Biden’s govt motion makes good on a marketing campaign promise to reverse what he described as a “vile” ban that was a part of an “assault on black and brown people.” Iman Awad, deputy director of Muslim-American advocacy group Emgage Action, counseled the president however mentioned there’s extra to be carried out.
“The mechanism which allowed Trump to wield such unchecked power still exists,” Awad mentioned.
Emgage Action and different immigration advocates are calling on Congress to move laws that might amend the Immigration and Naturalization Act to make sure no future administration can institute a blanket ban with out providing credible proof and acceptable oversight.
They’re additionally calling on the brand new president to meet his pledge to admit 125,000 refugees in fiscal yr 2021, in contrast with Trump’s 15,000 cap. The historic cuts made to the US refugee resettlement program through the Trump administration noticed the variety of Muslim refugees admitted to the United States plunge from nearly 40,000 in 2016 to simply 2,500 in 2020.
Biden signed the execution motion terminating the travel ban within the Oval Office; he additionally has referred to as for a direct evaluate of the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting” practices. The president additionally introduced he’s sending immigration laws to Congress that features new funding to advertise integration and inclusion, improve English-language sources and help people searching for to grow to be US residents.
“People can strut— just a little — today. Then, we get on with work,” mentioned Anthony Elghossain, a Beirut-based lawyer who, together with others, assisted households impacted by the travel ban.
He recalled when a Syrian-American girl referred to as to allow them to know that she and her partner had made it to the United States after years spent ready for his visa to be cleared. “I don’t know where she, or everyone else, is today,” Elghossain mentioned. “But I can see her smile.”