Some Americans hoped or assumed that Joe Biden would govern like a centrist. After all, much of the mainstream media and many of his high-profile supporters (but I repeat myself) often called him a “moderate,” and many years ago Mr. Biden was indeed rather moderate on immigration. However, the 46th president’s revocation of the previous administration’s anti-terror travel bans – along with other recent executive actions and directives – demonstrates the illusory nature of these hopes, at least as far as immigration policy is concerned.
Mr. Biden’s “Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to The United States,” issued on his first day in office, revokes Trump Executive Order 13780 (“travel ban 2.0”), Proclamation 9645 (which the Supreme Court ruled was legal), Proclamation 9723 (maintaining enhanced vetting capabilities) and Proclamation 9983 (which expanded the travel bans to six additional countries, two in Asia and four in Africa).
In addition, the Secretary of State was instructed to prepare a plan to “expeditiously” process visa applications for those qualifying for waivers under the travel bans (which in themselves show that the restrictions were by no means as rigid as the critics claimed) and a way to reconsider the applications that had been denied under the Trump executive orders. Moreover, the new administration wants to evaluate the “usefulness of form DS-5535” (a form requiring more social media information from applicants).
President Biden also sent the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 to Congress, which includes not only a mass amnesty and path to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens (there are 14.5 million in the U.S.), but also contains the NO BAN Act. The latter increases Diversity Visas from 55,000 to 80,000 annually while limiting presidential authority to issue future travel bans.
The critics of the anti-terrorist travel bans – mainly the Democrats – condemned the previous administration’s actions in the shrillest of ways. Downplaying the fact that, Islamist terrorism and anti-American, anti-Western extremism are a problem in many of the countries covered by the restrictions, they claimed recklessly that the bans were merely expressions of anti-Muslim discrimination. Hence, the term “anti-Muslim ban,” which was inaccurate because not all the restricted countries were Muslim-majority nations, and that most Islamic-majority countries in the world (approximately fifty) were not subject to the bans.
It is true that some (perhaps even many) individuals from the affected countries felt insulted by the bans and perceived themselves as being lumped in with potential terrorists and radicals (there is little doubt that the left also stoked these sentiments for political and electoral benefit). Nevertheless, the national security of the United States and the public safety of its people has to take precedence. For instance, I am an immigrant from Poland, and do not feel in the least offended by the fact that, during the height of the Cold War, the U.S. applied strict vetting to immigrants and refugees from Soviet-occupied Central and Eastern Europe to root out communists and spies. In fact, it was the right and commonsensical policy.
Now back to the Biden proclamation, which proudly asserts that “our national security will be enhanced by revoking the [previous administration’s]Executive Order and Proclamations.” Americans have the right to be skeptical of this claim because the revocation will make it easier for potential terrorists and radicals to come to the United States. As the brutal and bloody terrorist attacks which occurred in Europe last fall showed, Islamist extremism and terrorism remain a real-world threat, regardless of the Biden administration’s apparent desire to “hear no evil and see no evil.” The reality is that the safety of the American public is being sacrificed on the false altar of politically correct virtue signaling and a knee-jerk desire to reverse the policies of another administration.