Should Biden have ended Trump’s travel ban?
- On Wednesday, January 20, President Biden signed an executive order ending the Trump administration’s travel ban enacted in March 2017. In place of the deal, the administration plans to “improve screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures.”
- President Trump’s March 2017 travel ban originally restricted travel to the US for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In September 2017, the administration removed Iraq and Sudan while adding Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela to the list. In January 2020, six countries were added under less restriction: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
- Trump’s travel ban was upheld as Constitutional by the Supreme Court 9th Circuit in June 2018.
- During both the Obama and Trump administrations, Isis was an international threat. In December 2015, President Obama signed a similar travel ban into law.
- Former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf stated his disappointment in Biden’s intent to remove the ban will “make the American people less safe.”
- According to World Population Review, the most dangerous countries as of 2020 were Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Russia.
Firstly, the widely derided nickname of 'Muslim ban' promulgated by media outlets was in no way 'proof' of Trump's 'xenophobia,' 'bigotry,' or 'discrimination,' as Democrats would have you believe. The travel ban prevented people coming from hotspots of terrorism (like Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea) from acquiring visas to get into the US. If the travel ban had been strictly for the purpose of keeping Muslims out, why not ban travel from Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates or any of our other Arab allies? Biden's action leaves us more susceptible to acts of terrorism being perpetrated on our shores.
Secondly, this is another example of political hypocrisy. In one of his last acts before leaving office, President Trump set into motion the reopening of travel from Europe and Brazil, to be implemented on January 6th. The Biden Administration halted those efforts on Monday with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki writing on Twitter, 'With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.'
Considering that people are prohibited, in many cases, from even visiting family, one must wonder the motive for reversing the travel ban at such a precarious time like this. Opening travel between the US and our allies? Closed. Closing travel to regions known to sponsor terrorism? Opened. The motive is simple: every bit of Donald Trump's legacy must be wiped away. This is what we must expect. Not progress, but a steady march backward.
Joe Biden's decision to overturn the Trump-era travel ban was undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the United States. While Trump may have masked the ban as an attempt to guard the nation, it only generated more tension between the United States and the leaders of the countries listed in the ban.
While Trump claimed that his travel ban was part of 'what is necessary to protect the nation from terrorism,' it didn't appear to even target the proper nations. From 1975 to 2019, there had not been one terrorist attack from the nations on Trump's list. While terrorism is certainly a threat to the United States, the majority of terrorist attacks have been committed by American citizens.
When instituting the ban, Trump's intentions were put out on full display, and many critics aptly called it for what it was: a 'Muslim Ban.' His rhetoric surrounding the whole topic was viewed to be very divisive by many. By claiming in 2015 before he was President that he wanted to establish a 'total and complete ban' of Muslims entering the United States after the San Bernandino terrorist attack, Trump did not attempt to reach any type of common ground with leaders of the religion upon entering office. This type of behavior only increases the hostility between the United States and the Middle East.
While many immigrant applicants had their waivers cleared to enter the country, the US government never got back to them about the future process to enter the country. Trump's policies were not just bigoted but also proved extremely ineffective.