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Biden Terminates Discriminatory Travel Bans Impacting Nationals from Muslim & African Countries

In a bid to create a more humane immigration system, President Biden issued Proclamation 10141: ‘Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States’.

This Proclamation serves to counteract the Executive Order and Presidential Proclamations that the Trump administration issued regarding foreign terrorist entry and other public safety threats.

These are the specific Presidential decrees, made by President Trump, which President Biden’s proclamation seeks to address:

  • Executive Order 13780: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States

  • Proclamation 9645: Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

  • Proclamation 9723: Maintaining Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

  • Proclamation 9983: Improving Enhanced Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats

These prior presidential decrees had placed visa restrictions on the following countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. Additionally, they suspended or limited the entry of nationals from Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Many have accused the past administration of discrimination as these travel bans primarily impacted nationals of Muslim and African countries.

The Impact

Due to these restrictions, tens of thousands of people had their visa applications denied or canceled, while others have been waiting for years for a response to no avail.

Under President Trump’s proclamations, entire countries were demonized, leaving little room for the applications of upstanding prospective immigrants to be adjudicated.

Accordingly, people were punished for their nationalities and circumstances beyond their control. It was of no consequence whether they possessed stellar qualifications, were prospective students, or had relatives who were U.S. citizens; those proclamations deemed all of all persons from those countries a potential threat to national security.

Particularly hard hit were those in need of humanitarian assistance from war-torn countries, people desperately in need of refuge.

Such unjust gatekeeping denied many people access to safety, employment and educational opportunities and the ability to be with their families.

Taking Steps To Remedy The Trauma

President Biden decried the destructive legacy of these proclamations, indicating their misalignment with American values and threat to the nation’s security.

More specifically, he declared them to be “a stain on our national conscience”, and “inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and no faith at all.”

Furthermore, he asserted that the bans had jeopardized the country’s international alliances.

He reiterated his commitment to national security, promising to implement a fair and “rigorous, individualized vetting system” and to pursue opportunities to “strengthen information-sharing with partners”.

Action Plan: What to look forward to if you suffered unjust consequences related to the travel ban

1. Consistent with the revocation of President Trump’s decrees, visa processing and clearing the backlog of cases in waiver processing shall resume at all affected embassies and consulates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each post is executing a phased resumption of visa processing. If you were subject to the ban, visit your consulate's website to find out whether they are currently able to process your application.

(For more on the phased resumption of visa processing, read: The Road Ahead: Processing U.S. Visas Amidst A Global Pandemic).

2. A report generated by the Secretary of State covering:

  • A plan for expeditiously adjudicating pending visa applications for those who applied for a waiver of restrictions under President Trump’s proclamations.

  • A plan to ensure that individuals whose immigrant visa applications were denied (based on the suspension and restriction on entry) may have their applications reconsidered.

  • A plan to ensure that visa applicants are not prejudiced due to a previous visa denial (due to the suspension and restriction on entry) if they choose to re-apply for a visa.

3. A review of information-sharing relationships and a plan to strengthen partnerships conducted by the Secretary of State and other state agencies encompassing:

  • A description of the current screening and vetting procedures for those seeking immigrant and nonimmigrant entry to the United States.

  • A review of foreign government information-sharing practices…in order to evaluate the efficacy of those practices, their contribution to processes for screening and vetting those individuals seeking entry to the United States as immigrants and nonimmigrants, and how the United States ensures the accuracy and reliability of the information provided by foreign governments.

  • Recommendations to improve screening and vetting activities, including diplomatic efforts to improve international information-sharing, use of foreign assistance funds, where appropriate, to support capacity building for information-sharing and identity-management practices, and ways to further integrate relevant executive department and agency data into the vetting system.

  • A review of the current use of social media identifiers in the screening and vetting process, including an assessment of whether this use has meaningfully improved screening and vetting, and recommendations in light of this assessment.

Outside of the scope of President Biden’s proclamation, the immigration bill that he recently submitted to Congress contains the “No Ban Act’. This act seeks to prevent any future president from enacting such sweeping restrictions unless extraordinary circumstances warrant such en masse exclusions, as advised by the Secretary of State.

We assist countless foreign nationals and we will be happy to personally assist you with your application as well. Send us an E-mail or call us at (888)354-6257. For reasons on why you should consult an immigration attorney whenever you have an immigration issue, see our page titled: Reasons Why it is Vital to Use an Immigration Lawyer.



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