Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden signs one of a slate of executive orders during the early hours of his administration on January 20, 2021. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden signs one of a slate of executive orders during his first few hours in the White House on January 20, 2021. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images) 

Joy, Relief, and Healing as Biden Ends Trump's Racist Muslim Ban in Day One Executive Order

"This is a momentous occasion for the millions of Americans who were separated by the ban and those who stood up against this injustice at airports nationwide."

Brett Wilkins

Muslim, African, and Arab Americans, and people around the world Wednesday celebrated President Joe Biden's rescinding of the racist Trump-era travel ban that mostly targeted immigrants and visitors from Muslim countries.

"The Muslim and African ban was never about national security, it was always rooted in bigotry and called into question what values America stands for."
—NO BAN Act Coalition

The lifting of the so-called Muslim ban was one of numerous executive actions taken by Biden shortly after his inauguration and fufills a campaign promise he made to end the prohibition on "day one" of his administration. 

During the course of Trump's presidency, more than 41,000 visa requests were denied (pdf) under the ban, which ripped families apart, prevented people from the proscribed countries from getting healthcare and education in the U.S., and deprived the United States of doctors, nurses, and other medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic. 

There was a great sense of joy and relief at the ban's demise. The NO BAN Act Coalition, a broad alliance of 81 national and local civil rights, faith, and community groups fighting for anti-discrimination legislation that is now included in Biden's U.S. Citizenship Act, issued a statement bidding "goodbye to the Muslim and African ban."

The statement continued: 

Almost four years ago, one of President [Donald] Trump's first acts in office was to ban Muslims from the United States. Three years later, he expanded the ban to include several African countries. Today, it's fitting that one of Biden's first acts is to rescind the Muslim and African Ban. This is a momentous occasion for the millions of Americans who were separated by the ban and those who stood up against this injustice at airports nationwide.

Thank you, President Biden for staying true to your promise to repeal this bigoted policy immediately. The Muslim and African Ban was never about national security, it was always rooted in bigotry and called into question what values America stands for. However, just ending the ban through an executive order won't stop this from happening again. That's why we applaud the historic inclusion of the NO BAN Act in the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.

Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-San Francisco Bay Area, told Religion News Service that Biden's order would "correct the course" of the lives disrupted by Trump.

"Tens of thousands of impacted individuals will now have the chance to be with their families during cherished and challenging times," said Billoo. "While we know our work is far from over, today we celebrate the heroic efforts undertaken by so many over the last several years in our effort to repeal the Muslim and African bans."

Some of the most poignant reaction to the end of the ban came from people directly affected by it. Ramez Alghazzouli, a Syrian immigrant who had been separated from his wife for a year due to the policy, told Religion News Service it felt like a boulder had been removed from his chest. But he also said the travel prohibition irreparably damaged his family.

"The ban itself will be reversed but no one can reverse our feelings and emotions and the time we lost while being separated from each other," said Alghazzouli. "It'll still be part of our life and history. The Muslim ban is the nuke that we survived but we are still suffering from its collateral damage."

There was no shortage of suggestions on what Biden could do help heal the harm caused by travel ban, from ending Trump-era "extreme vetting" of Muslims and others entering the U.S., to increasing the number of refugees allowed into the country, to ending U.S. wars that have killed at least hundreds of thousands of Muslim men, women, and children since 2001. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo