ACLU Statement on Biden’s Refusal to Address Diversity Visas

March 9, 2021 1:15 pm

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WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced that it will not issue visas to diversity visa applicants from fiscal year 2017 to 2020, who were denied their visas under the Trump administration’s Muslim bans, which ultimately targeted a large number of Africans. President Biden, when he rescinded the Muslim ban, ordered a State Department report on how to address Trump’s rampant denials of immigrant visas, including diversity visas, under his discriminatory bans.

Today’s announcement offers limited relief to a subset of people injured by the Muslim ban, but does not do anything for diversity visa applicants. Specifically, non-diversity visa applicants whose applications were refused on or after Jan. 20, 2020, due to Trump’s Muslim bans, may dispute their rejections without resubmitting their forms or further payment if the underlying visa petitions remain accurate. People who were denied prior to Jan. 20, 2020, can reapply, but will have to submit a new application and fee.

According to Manar Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel:

“While President Biden is right to call the Muslim ban ‘a stain on our national conscience,’ he has failed to help so many of those harmed by it. The opportunity to ‘win’ a diversity visa is a rare and life-changing opportunity that was snatched away from thousands of people because of President Trump’s hatred and discrimination. Instead of restoring this opportunity, President Biden just dusted off Trump’s ‘CLOSED’ sign and locked the door behind him. This decision threatens to forever prevent thousands of Black and Brown immigrants who meet all of the legal requirements to immigrate to the United States from doing so, perpetuating the effects of the discriminatory ban. Although Biden made the Muslim ban recession a day one priority, that alone is not enough. Today, he cemented Trump’s legacy of harm.”

An op-ed from Waheed on diversity visas is available here: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-muslim-ban-left-thousands-in-limbobiden-must-decide-their-fates

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