Trump Muslim ban effects still being felt, as refugee group petitions for separated Somali family

Trump Muslim ban effects still being felt, as refugee group petitions for separated Somali family
The Biden administration has not done enough to reverse the effects of the previous administration's Muslim ban, a
refugee group has said, causing many families to wait years for reunification.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
08 April, 2022
Muslim refugees heading to the US continue to face similar obstacles as they did under the previous administration [Getty-file photo]

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is filing a lawsuit on behalf of a separated Somali family which it hopes will see them be reunited in the US. 

It is the second lawsuit of its kind in less than a month and the NGO says these cases reflect a legacy of the previous Trump administration's controversial Muslim ban.

"It’s part of the same problem - the Muslim ban," Mariko Hirose, IRAP litigation director told The New Arab.   

"This administration really needs to take a close look at what the Trump administration did with the Muslim ban and make sure all the effects are repealed."

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Mohamuds, a Somali refugee family waiting to be reunited in the US.

The NGO's open letter, signed by more than 75 partner organisations, calls on the Biden administration to do more to undo the legacy of the Muslim refugee ban.

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The Muslim ban, officially known as Executive Order 13769, effectively banned entry to the US from citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, Iran, and Syria.

Anisa Mohamud's mother and younger brother were on a flight to join her and her sister when the Trump administration issued the Muslim ban in October 2017. They were turned back during a layover.

The Biden administration repealed the ban in January 2021, but the Mohamuds were rejected again and with no clear explanation why.

According to a statement by IRAP, the lawsuit challenges that denial and the policies leading up to it saying they are unfair and discriminatory. With the law firm Perkins Coie LLP acting as co-counsel in the lawsuit, the IRAP is seeking to reopen the case against the entry ban on the family.

This week, Representatives Mark Pocan and Ilhan Omar led a letter signed by 26 members of Congress asking Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ur M. Jaddou to review and remedy the continued effects of the Muslim ban on refugee resettlement.

"The percentage of refugees that are Muslim has plummeted," said Hirose, referring to the continued low numbers of admitted refugees from Muslim-majority countries.

"That's exactly what Trump wanted to do. What happened to this family is unconscionable. It shows that the racist Muslim ban is continuing to harm refugee families. We hope the government will stand by its word to reverse all of the effects of the Muslim ban."