The lifting of President Donald Trump’s travel ban is a sign of hope for Muslims in Maine.
BANGOR, Maine – As one of his first moves in office, President Joe Biden lifted former President Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim travel ban.
“The first reaction was, ‘I can not believe this is happening, and I can not believe that this is coming from the President of the United States,'” said Portland City Councilman Pious Ali.
Trump adopted a travel ban on Muslim majority nations in 2017. Protests erupted almost across the country. Legal challenges to the ban went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which the former president won.
“There was fear, anxiety, and there was anger,” said Councilman Ali.
Almost four years after the restrictions were introduced, Biden lifted them on his first day of office.
A statement from his office reads, “… when applying for a visa to enter the United States, we will apply a strict, individualized control system. But we will not turn our backs on our values with discriminatory bans on entry into the United States.”
“It’s such a huge relief, you know? Since there is nothing as good as a family reunification, Bangor City Council Angela Okafor says the ban will be lifted.
Councilor Okafor was personally affected by the travel restrictions. “I do not have my parents, I do not have my siblings, you know. Being able to have my family come, even if it’s just for visits, is a huge thing.”
Even if the ban no longer exists, Okafor believes it will take time to undo the damage it has done to the country. “There will definitely be some long-term effects, but that’s what it is. We will continue,” she added.
Councilor Ali sees President Biden’s conversion of the ban as a victory for all marginalized groups. “Whether it’s Muslims, immigrants, black people, LGBTQ, Jewish groups, it’s a new day,” Ali told the Maine News Center.
In his effort to reform the country’s immigration system, Biden plans to send the US Citizenship Act to Congress. It includes the “No Ban Act”, a provision that prevents future presidents from adopting similar travel bans.
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