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One of Donald Trump’s first acts as president in January of 2017 was to institute a ban on travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority nations. On the first day of his presidency on Wednesday, Joe Biden rescinded that ban in a flurry of 16 presidential actions.
Biden’s move revoked one executive order and three proclamations issued over a three-year period that halted both travel and immigration from Middle East and African nations.
“Beyond contravening our values, these Executive Orders and Proclamations have undermined our national security,” the Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States reads. “They have jeopardized our global network of alliances and partnerships and are a moral blight that has dulled the power of our example the world over. And they have separated loved ones, inflicting pain that will ripple for years to come. They are just plain wrong.”
The bans set off years of legal battles including arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. Taken along with promises to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. — which failed — and the separation of immigrant children from their parents, the travel bans were targeted directly at black and brown people who wanted to travel or immigrate to the U.S. They also quickly signaled to the travel industry that the Trump administration was not going to be the tourism-friendly one that leaders had hoped for in 2017.