Nothing has been done to mitigate the damage, loss, and separation caused by the Muslim ban. Biden can fix this – if he wants.

By Alexandra Martinez, PRISM

Somia Elrowmeim brought her 75-year-old mother from Yemen to the U.S. just before the Yemeni Civil War began in 2014. She’s been living with her daughter in New York City ever since and received her green card six years ago, but the rest of her family remains in Yemen. She has spent years trying to bring her children and grandchildren over to the U.S., to no avail.

Ever since the Trump Administration instated a racist, Islamophobic, and xenophobic travel ban targeting nationals from 13 African and predominantly Muslim countries through executive orders in 2017 and 2020, applying for and receiving an immigrant visa has been impossible. President Joe Biden repealed the ban on his first day in office, but advocates and Muslim Americans say nothing has been done to mitigate the damage, loss, and separation caused by the ban.

Saying 'no' to the Muslim ban

“[My mother] dreams about spending the rest of her life with her children and grandchildren,” said Elrowmeim, who is the founder of the Union of Arab Women. “It’s been a miserable life. She cannot sleep at night; she keeps crying every single day.”

Elrowmeim says it took her two years to apply and bring over her mother from Yemen prior to the Muslim ban, but now the process can take up to 10 years due to a combination of complications from the ban and the embassy in Sanaa being closed since February 2015. Saudi forces’ continuous turmoil and bombing in Yemen has caused extreme emotional and mental strife for Elrowmeim’s family. They went five days during the most recent attacks without hearing from their family because telephone lines were down. Her mother would travel to Yemen to see her family, but conditions remain unsafe.

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