Civil rights group calls on Biden administration to waive application fees and fast-track applications by all people impacted by bans
(WASHINGTON, DC – 3/9/2021) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the U.S Department of State to do more to “undo the damage” caused by the Muslim Ban by waiving fees and fast-tracking applications for all immigrants who were unjustly denied visas due to their nationalities.
On Monday, the State Department announced the results of its 45-day review of immigration processes, which was mandated by an executive order President Biden signed repealing the Muslim Ban on Jan. 20, 2021.
According to the State Department, visa applicants whose applications were denied on or after Jan. 20, 2020 due to the Muslim Ban can be reconsidered without having to submit a new application or pay new feeds. However, anyone denied a visa because of the Muslim Ban prior to Jan. 20, 2020 must submit a new application and pay the costly application fees all over again.
The department’s announcement also states, “Applicants from the affected countries may no longer be denied on the basis of nationality, and the Department has taken a number of steps to ensure that applicants previously refused visas under Proclamations 9645 and 9983 will not have future visa applications prejudiced in any way by those prior decisions.”
SEE: U.S. says visa applicants denied due to Trump ‘Muslim ban’ can reapply
In a statement, CAIR National Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw said:
“Although we welcome the Biden administration’s affirmation that that Muslim and Africa Bans were bigoted, discriminatory and unacceptable policies, the administration must do more to undo the damage these policies caused to thousands of students, workers and families — both here and abroad.
“‘Start over’ is not a solution. The thousands of immigrants whose visa applications were unjustly denied because of the Muslim Ban should receive both fast-tracked reconsideration and a waiver of the application fees they have already paid. We ask the Biden administration to be creative and work with community-based groups to bring relief to all the families that were separated and harmed because of the discriminatory and xenophobic bans.
“We also call on the State Department to do more for Diversity Visa application winners who were not issued visas due to the Muslim and African Bans. The Biden-Harris administration must work with Congress to find alternative immigration pathways for these would-be immigrants who are being denied a chance at the American dream.
“We remain concerned over U.S. embassy and consulates’ unequal and biased application of extreme vetting screening procedures against numerous would-be visa applicants from Muslim countries. Muslim travelers continue to face higher screening standards in their attempts to obtain a U.S travel visa.”
SEE: CAIR Community Advisory: What You Need to Know About the Muslim Ban Repeal
CAIR Publishes Multi-Language ‘Muslim Ban Repeal Advisory’ Materials Online in Arabic, Somali, Tigrinya
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.