HIAS Applauds President Biden’s Quick Actions on Immigration

WASHINGTON — Shortly after taking office this afternoon, President Biden signed an executive order repealing the Trump administration’s travel bans, which barred people from many African and Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States. 

The Biden administration also sent a sweeping immigration bill to Congress. The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of people, help rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and includes the NO BAN Act, which prohibits discrimination based on religion in our immigration system. 

These actions, which will help make America’s immigration system more humane and more welcoming, are exciting and long overdue. After four years of attacks by the Trump administration, President Biden’s swift actions offer renewed hope that refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants will be able to exercise their rights and find safety in the United States. HIAS is deeply heartened that the Biden administration has put immigration issues at the top of its agenda.

"Over the last four years, most of HIAS' interactions with Trump administration officials were in court, suing them over illegal actions taken against asylum seekers and refugees,” said Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ president and CEO. “Day one of the Biden administration has already set a dramatically different tone, allowing HIAS to change the way we work with the White House from confrontation to consultation, and from litigating to legislating. We welcome a return to rule of law and respect for human rights."

While the first day of the Biden administration has brought welcome news, there is much work still to be done. This week, HIAS organized more than 1,000 Jewish clergy members to sign a letter calling on President Biden to take further steps to fix the immigration system. In the months to come, HIAS will continue pressing the administration and Congress to take such steps and restore America’s tradition of welcoming those who seek refuge.

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