Jan 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden will reverse Trump's travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries

Photo of an arm raising a pink sign that says "No ban end Islamophobia" at a protest outside the Supreme Court

People protest former President Trump's Muslim travel ban outside the Supreme Court on June 26, 2018. Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty

President-elect Biden will reverse President Trump's controversial policy restricting travel for nationals from several Muslim-majority countries.

Why it matters: The ban restricted travel and immigration, to varying degrees, for about 7% of the world's population. Biden previously blamed Trump for the "unconscionable rise in Islamophobia."

Flashback: "Muslim communities were the first to feel Donald Trump's assault on Black and brown communities in this country with his vile Muslim ban," Biden said in a speech at the "Million Muslim Votes" summit in July.

  • At the event, Biden also promised to work with Congress "to pass hate crimes legislation."

Background: Trump introduced the ban during his first week in office, causing widespread condemnation and protests, confusion at airports and legal challenges.

  • After lower court rulings invalidated the first versions of the ban, the Supreme Court in June 2018 upheld the Trump administration’s third version, which applied to nationals of five majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen — and put restrictions on people traveling from Venezuela and North Korea.
  • In 2020, it was extended to include restrictions on permanent immigration for people from six other countries, including Kyrgyzstan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sudan and Myanmar.
  • Trump claimed the ban did not target Muslims, and was meant to keep the U.S. "safe and free."
  • The policy followed Trump's pledge on the campaign trail in which he called for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

Go deeper: The world's Muslims are facing unprecedented repression

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