Ted Eytan/flickr

The previous weekend I shared the story of a couple of thousand people with issued immigrant visas who are still barred from entry into the United States.

Couple of days ago I wrote a piece on Trump’s entry bans which practically almost completely stopped legal migration, and the chances of the new President Biden ending them.

Since that article, on Saturday Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff issued a memo outlining the first 10 days of the presidency. As expected Biden will fulfill his promise of ending the Muslim ban on the first day, in the first hours after the inauguration. On the same day, there is also the immigration bill that he promised he’ll send to Congress, and that’s about it on the immigration front.

There is also this sentence on fulfilling Biden’s promises “to restore dignity to our immigration system and our border policies, and start the difficult but critical work of reuniting families separated at the border”.

Biden’s chief of staff is saying that this isn’t everything that Biden will do in the first 10 days. As you can see, he has mentioned this in two instances in the memo. 

This is the first:

This is the second instance (at the end of the memo):

So, there is still the chance that Biden will end the proclamation which was extended on December 31st but it’s really strange that the Biden team has ignored multiple questions from journalists on the ban. There are 8 days since The Worldwide Times sent questions to Biden’s transition press team, asking if he will end Trump’s ban, but there isn’t any response so far. Other journalists have also tried but no one has received an answer. Not even “we are considering…”. Just nothing. We would probably have some kind of answer, if this question was asked on the live events that Biden has done multiple times over the past days and weeks but nobody over there has asked.

So, until we have a statement about this, we will work under the assumption that Biden won’t do anything about these bans.

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

And while ending xenophobic policies is always a great thing, let’s analyze what would happen if Biden is going to recline only the Muslim ban, without the others. 

First of all, we have to understand what the ban is all about.

This is from Oxfam:

“In January 2017, President Trump issued his original Muslim Ban just days after entering office.

The executive order barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US for 90 days, banned the admission of Syrian refugees—the world’s largest refugee population—and suspended the US refugee admissions program for 120 days, leaving thousands of vulnerable people, many of whom had already been approved for resettlement to the US, trapped in limbo”, this Oxfam article states.

There were thousands of people around the country in protests at airports and in front of the White House and challenged the ban in courts. “Ultimately, a 5-4 US Supreme Court ruling in 2018 upheld the Trump administration’s third version of the ban. That iteration, which remains in force, blocks travel to the US from five Muslim-majority countries and North Korea, and specific Venezuelan government officials.

In January 2020, the Trump administration added six countries to the ban: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

The stringent travel restrictions, which vary between countries, include banning most immigrant visas and preventing some people from coming to the US through the diversity visa lottery”, says the Oxfam article about the ban.

So we can safely say that Trump banned people from these countries before it was cool – that is before he got Covid-19 as an excuse to ban almost all of the legal migration from all around the world.

Photo: The White House

In the past 9 months, people with completed procedures, ready to be interviewed are waiting and even people who (only after a court order) got their interviews and visas are still barred from entry.

And what would reversing ONLY the Muslim ban means in this kind of situation?

Well, practically, almost nothing. Just a good and nice-sounding political statement.

In reality, it’s like a never-ending hurdles on the hate, racist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant Olympics.

sachab, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The people from the countries affected by the Muslim ban on January 20 will jump over couple of the hurdles and just when they’ll think that they have it all sorted out, they will come to the next set of them where they will be greeted by tens of thousands of people who are affected by the newest Trump’s proclamations and who can’t move further on the track. 

So, the only thing that will change for them on January 20 will be the notion that the U.S. are not xenophobic any more. That’s really good, but in reality it doesn’t do much to people who are separated from loved ones.

They wouldn’t have to worry about the Muslim ban anymore, but they will have to worry about the proclamations. They will have to wait with all the others, either for Biden to end the proclamations, or a court to end them, or for them to expire on March 31, 2021 without any action from Biden or from the courts. There is also the option that Biden will extend the bans beyond this date, but we are far from this at the moment.

For now, we are waiting for Inauguration day.

Written by: Jovan Postoloski

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