MN-CAIR leader applauds Biden's move to lift travel ban on Muslim, African countries

Crystal Bui
Updated: January 21, 2021 06:25 PM
Created: January 21, 2021 05:16 PM

President Joe Biden reversed one of former President Donald Trump’s first acts after he was inaugurated. Back in 2017, Trump had imposed a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority and African countries. At the time, Trump said he didn’t want to admit anyone into the country that they couldn’t safely vet. The controversial order was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"With this election and the new administration, President Biden on day — on hour one — was able to reverse this horrific policy, that really divided families," Jaylani Hussein, executive director at Minnesota's chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

With the incoming change, Hussein said Muslim families will breathe easier knowing their loved ones can come visit or have less trouble applying for a visa.

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"I've heard those stories across the state of Minnesota from Moorhead all the way down to Albert Lea, families who were missing loved ones because of this policy and today many of them are rejoicing this change of policy, but we know there is a lot of work ahead," Hussein said.

Some travelers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport agreed with opening borders to Muslim travelers.

"I think, overall, it's going to be great going into the future as COVID concerns have lifted and things get more inlined, too," Emily Welsch said.

"I think it's really important to a lot of families, too, I feel like it would be selfish for me not to think that," Isabelle Leelanc added.

For Hussein, this is also a chance to reconnect with those he’s missed for quite some time.

"I have relatives who have spouses who they haven't seen, children they haven't seen, who were born in those four years," Hussein said.

Biden plans to direct the State Department to restart the visa process for those countries immediately and fix those cases with applicants who were denied visas or had applications frozen.

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