Muslim Rights Group Vows To Work With Congress On Preventing More Trump-Like Travel Bans

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 22nd January, 2021) ASHINGTON, January 22 (Sputnik), Barrington M. Salmon - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomes President Joe Biden's order to terminate his predecessor's Muslim travel ban policy, but also plans to work with US lawmakers to prevent future administrations from repeating this mistake, CAIR's Maryland Office Director Zainab Chaudry told Sputnik.

Biden, shortly after being inaugurated on Wednesday, among a flurry of executive measures, signed an order to reverse former President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries.

"We're grateful to President Biden for keeping his word on Day one," Chaudry said. "We plan to work in Congress on [a] bill to ensure that this is no longer an issue."

The original ban, signed in 2017, affected travelers and refugees from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. A later version included only five Muslim states in addition to Venezuela and North Korea.

"It affected people of color and was discriminatory on its face and in intent," she said. "These executive orders do not keep our country safe."

Chaudry called the termination of the travel ban "a huge burst of relief" for families affected by the discriminatory policy. This included many who needed medical attention, wanted to be reunited with family members, and others hoping to study in the US.

She cited examples of an Iranian who was not able to travel to their mother's funeral and a Libyan family with a member who was sick and unable to come to the United States for treatment. That person died. Then there was the case of a Sudanese family whose daughter was engaged to a man in Sudan, but the family had great difficulty trying to get him to the US.

She said CAIR, as a non-partisan organization, does not align within any specific US political party in their effort to promote policies that protect American Muslim civil rights.

"We just ask them [lawmakers] to vote their conscience and not vote for bills that would hurt us," Chaudry said.

In a 5-4 ruling in 2018, the Supreme Court's conservative majority upheld Trump's travel ban, arguing that the president has the power to secure the country's borders and make national security judgments within the realm of immigration. Trump officials refuted allegations that the ban unfairly targeted Muslims, noting that the later version included two non-Muslim countries.