Local Muslim-Americans optimistic about future after President Biden reverses travel ban

On the day of his inauguration, President Joe Biden repealed the travel ban as promised during his campaign days.

The policy was signed into law four years ago during the Trump Administration. The order blocked foreign nationals from Muslim-majority countries from traveling into the U.S.

"We’re all going to be talking about this tonight. We’re all going to be sitting around the dinner table," said Aziz Junejo, a West Seattle resident and Muslim-American.

Junejo and his family have spoken against and protested the ban.

"Muslims around the country were devastated. My daughter reminded me of all the attorneys that ran to help those folks that day the ban took place," he said, "Biden didn’t do something amazing. What he did is, he put things back in place and put our country back on track."

Former President Trump said the travel ban was enforced to make the country more secure.

Karam Dana is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington Bothell and the Director of the American Muslim Research Institute. He said the travel ban actually had a bigger impact on Americans who are Muslim because it tore families apart.

"The Muslim ban was a travel ban that limited access to the United States, even to those who had a green card. Not only those who carry valid visas, but also those who have permanent residency cards including people’s children, people’s parents, people’s siblings, people’s spouses. So there are countless stories of people who have been directly impacted by the Muslim ban," said Dana.

Now after four years, Dana said reversing the travel ban is the start of unraveling discrimination against Muslims in this country.

"American Muslims should feel proud to what has happened today. To feel that that there are other Americans in the political establishment who recognize that the Muslim ban shouldn’t have been assigned from the beginning," said Dana. "One Muslim does something, and then the entire Muslim community becomes guilty. I feel in some ways the idea that Muslims get targeted is something that needs to stop, and I hope that this is the beginning of a new era."

Biden’s administration is taking other safety measures. It plans to improve the safety screening of visitors and strengthen information sharing with foreign governments.