After nearly four long years, Trump’s Muslim ban is no more. President Biden made good on his promise to our community to end the ban on Day One, calling it “just plain wrong.” And he was right. So many members of our community have been separated from their loved ones solely due to Trump’s bigotry. Husbands and wives, grandparents and grandchildren, and so many friends and family have missed weddings, funerals and so many special moments with one another. Those days are almost over.
Unfortunately, the end of the ban is not as simple as the President signing an order — and the ongoing pandemic and various public health-related travel restrictions has created more hurdles to families reuniting. We know our community is eager to once again welcome visits from our loved ones in Iran (once it’s safe of course!), which is why we’re urging the State Department to implement several key changes, including:
- Restoring consular services so that Iranians can get visa appointments;
- Revisiting the pandemic travel restrictions on Iranians and ending those blocking broad categories of visa applicants;
- Expediting applications stuck in administrative processing; and
- Ensuring that those who were rejected under the ban – including those who secured diversity visas – can easily re-apply;
President Biden has already ordered the State Department to create a plan within 45 days to redress the harm caused by the ban. We all want a pathway for our family and friends to open as soon as possible, and as safely as possible, and we trust that the Biden team is doing everything in its power to achieve these goals in its opening days.
However, we also have to make sure no such ban is ever again put in place. Without further steps, a future administration could easily create the next iteration of restrictions keeping us from our loved ones in Iran. Thankfully, the Biden team appears to recognize this, and has endorsed the NO BAN Act, which passed the House last summer and would bar future administrations from enacting discriminatory immigration orders. The Biden team has also launched a 120 day review of associated vetting policies, opening a pathway to ending policies that led to the Muslim ban–including the discriminatory H.R. 158 Visa Waiver Program restrictions and other Trump-era policies targeting Iranians.
None of this work will be easy, and it will require the Iranian-American community working with other impacted communities and civil rights groups to win important victories. Here are two significant ways you can help:
- Take action to urge the Biden administration to re-open the pathway for Iranian visas and root out discriminatory immigration orders. While we work to make sure our families can be reunited now, we still need to ensure that no discriminatory order like the Muslim ban happens again by passing the NO BAN Act.
- Donate to fund our critical immigration work, including our work to uplift the voices of those impacted by the ban; provide policy recommendations to the State Department, Congress, and other key decision makers; and to build chapters in states represented by Members of Congress who can sway immigration policies, and much more
There is much to be done in the coming week and months to implement the repeal of the Muslim Ban and ensure no community ever again suffers from racist policies that run contrary to the principles upon which this country was founded.Back to top