SAN FRANCISCO — Today, we celebrate the Biden Administration's swift action to repeal the Muslim and African "Travel" Bans—the result of the advocacy, drive, and resilience of impacted communities.
Over four years, and after a series of legal challenges by advocates including the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, former-President Trump pushed forward various iterations of the Muslim and African Bans that translated his hate-filled campaign promises into public policy. These policies—ultimately upheld by the United States Supreme Court in what will surely go down as one of the most unjust rulings in its 230-year history—brought chaos and despair to the lives of everyday people, who could not celebrate or mourn with loved ones, pursue work or education opportunities, or seek life-saving healthcare treatment.
By the end of the Trump Administration, the travel ban, which was issued by Executive Order one week after the former president was inaugurated, faced dozens of legal challenges, affected 17 countries, and blocked hundreds of thousands of Muslims and refugees from entering the U.S. (To track each twist and turn of the Muslim and African Bans and their associated legal challenges, see our Muslim Ban Timeline.)
While we celebrate the end to this awful policy, we must recognize that the bar set by the Trump Administration is rock-bottom. The travel ban should never have been promoted, upheld by our courts, or enshrined into law in the first place. It is connected to the systemic xenophobia, nativism, and white supremacist ideology that has long characterized immigration policy in this country.
“This is just one victory in a much larger fight to dismantle the injustices of the current immigration system and replace it with one that honors the dignity and humanity of immigrants, allowing them equal access to the fundamental rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law,” said Vasudha Talla, Immigrants’ Rights Program Director at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California.
“As the Muslim and African Bans make clear, there is far too much room in our legal system for abuses of power against immigrants—particularly Black and Brown immigrants,” said Talla. “This is why we call on the Biden Administration to enact more stringent standards to prevent future abuses of authority. Our Constitution, and our immigrant communities, demand it.”