Just hours after having been sworn in as the 46th President of the US alongside Vice President, Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden reportedly signed 17 executive orders including doing away with the infamous Muslim travel ban. The ban, which was enforced under the former Trump administration in 2017, targeted predominately Muslim countries in the Middle East but also included several African countries such as Nigeria, Chad, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Eritrea.
Following a star-studded and uplifting inauguration ceremony, the Biden-Harris administration is already getting to work. According to Vox, President Biden has put an end to Trump’s anti-Muslim campaign which had declared predominantly Muslim countries as a threat to the national security of the US. As a result, relatives from the banned countries were separated from their loved ones living in the US for at least four years. While the travel ban had initially caused public outrage and several legal challenges, it was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.
Speaking during his inaugural address at the Capitol, President Biden said, “We’ll press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. He went on to add, “Much to repair. Much to restore. Much to heal. Much to build, and much to gain.”
Neither the various leaders of the banned African countries nor the African Union (AU) or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have as yet responded to President Biden’s latest efforts.
As his inaugural speech suggested, President Biden is working with a sense of tremendous urgency to effectively undo the legacy of the former Trump administration particularly with regards to immigration. President Biden has labelled Trump’s harsh immigration policies as “discriminatory” and halted plans both to exclude non-citizens from the census count and deport the so-called “Dreamers” who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.