It’s being hailed by advocacy groups as a day of hope, one after which families may once more be able to reunite with loved ones, marking the end of a “dark legacy”. Muslim Americans are anticipating the end of a travel ban President Trump imposed on predominantly Muslim countries, a ban President-elect Biden has vowed to repeal on his first day in office.
According to a memo sent by Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain to senior staff, Biden is planning to sign a raft of executive orders on his first day as President to mark a clean break with his predecessor, including an order to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the climate and the reversal of the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries.
Labeled a Muslim ban by critics, an executive order was signed by President Trump in January 2017 barring entry into the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the country for 90 days. It also banned the admission of Syrian refugees and suspended the U.S. refugee admissions program for 120 days.
President Trump said the travel ban was necessary in order to keep America safe from terrorism and that it was not a ban against Muslims. During his campaign for president, Trump had called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Justifying the imposition of his ban by executive order, Trump said: “Making America safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”
During his campaign, Biden promised to “end the Muslim ban on day one” of his time in office. Biden told attendees of the Million Muslim Votes Summit, an online conference hosted by Emgage Action, a Muslim-American political group: “Muslim communities were the first to feel Donald Trump‘s assault on Black and brown communities in this country with his vile Muslim ban. That fight was the opening barrage in what has been nearly four years of constant pressure and insults, and attacks against Muslim American communities.”
Ahead of the expected repealing of the ban on Wednesday, Iman Awad, deputy director of Emgage Action told Newsweek that she was “thrilled.” She said: “From the first time we heard President-elect Biden say that he was going to end the Muslim ban on day one, the community was definitely thrilled because that to us is a validation of how poor of a policy the Muslim ban was from the beginning.
“The fact that the Biden administration is upkeeping that promise, we’re very hopeful because again when somebody’s running a campaign and when President-elect Biden was stating he was going to rescind the ban there were still some questions around it but we are incredibly grateful that he’s upholding that campaign promise.”