Bay Area Muslims expressed a sense of relief as they watched President Biden sign an executive order rolling back the "Muslim Ban" in his first day in office.
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"Today has been an emotional day. The morning I just thought it's a new day, a new world," said Mina Mahdavi, a Campbell-based cybersecurity engineer.
The executive order signed by President Trump in 2017 placed travel bans on predominately Muslim and African countries.
The list included Iran, Yemen, Syria, and several others. The Trump administration cited national security concerns at the time.
The travel ban drew protests, a battle in the Supreme Court, and divided families.
The ban was revised several times and added Venezuela and North Korea to the list.
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"Some people call it frustration, I would call it more anger of 'Why? What was the reason? What were we trying to fix?'" said Mahdavi.
Mahdavi hopes to be reunited with her 67-year-old mother who has only met Mahdavi's son, her grandson, once.
Her son was born just months after Trump signed the first travel ban.
Mahdavi wanted her mother to travel to the U.S. and stay with her on a tourist visa as she recovered from giving birth to her son.
The visa was denied and her waiver application was rejected.
Instead, when her son was only months old in 2018, Mahdavi traveled to Iran so her mother could meet the boy.
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"My mom was dying to see her first grandson. So we traveled back," she said.
The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said this reversal by the Biden administration is the culmination of years of work by activists and organizers.
"President Biden making repealing the Muslim ban a day one priority communicates to American Muslims that they are being heard that their concerns are relevant to this administration and that we can turn to this administration to fulfill its promises," said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, San Francisco Bay Area Office.
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The Biden Administration said the order the president signed Wednesday will restart visa processing swiftly.
Mahdavi is hopeful her family will be reunited soon.
"It's a good day," she said, "It's something that makes us happy."
While the Council on American-Islamic Relations praised the Biden Administration for taking swift action in reversing the travel ban, the national organization released a 33-point list of additional concerns.
The list included ending profiling of the Muslim community, more inclusive representation of American Muslims in Federal government, and ending national security overreach.
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