Biden lifts Muslim ban hours after taking oath of office
WASHINGTON, USA -A few hours after taking the oath of office in Capitol Hill, America's new President Joe Biden signed 17 Executive Orders among them lifting a ban imposed on Muslim immigrants from a number of countries, which was signed by his predecessor Donald Trump, whose chaotic reign of four years ended on Wednesday.
Trump, who lost to Biden in November last year, had signed the order which was termed as discriminative by many human rights groups and activists, some accusing of using his powers to violate international laws. Among the countries that were affected in Africa were Somalia and Sudan.
Portraying himself as a liberal president, Biden, 78, quashed the orders and gave Muslims a reprieve, meaning that they will only be subjected to normal processes before being given citizenship or asylum in the United States. The order had targeted countries that are terror-prone.
Last week, Trump deported over 80 Somalis some of who had stayed in the US for over three decades after they lost their asylum case to the federal government. Thousands had faced similar consequences before, but the situation might change completely under the new administration.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee now serving as second term Congresswoman in the US, and who has been passionate about the non-discriminatory approaches, hailed the decision by Biden to quash the order that had been signed by Trump. She termed the move as the "win for democracy".
"Elections have consequences. Biden within hours of taking the oath of office was able to: revoke the Muslim ban, rejoin Paris Climate Agreement, extend federal eviction moratorium, rescind Census orders to exclude non-citizens, preserve or fortify DACA, and much more. It’s a new day," she said.
The swearing-in ceremony was limited to a few people due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic which has killed close to 500,000 people in the US. Present were several dignitaries among them former Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.
"If you still disagree, so be it. That's democracy. That's America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our Republic is perhaps this nation's greatest strength," said Biden, who becomes the oldest person to ever become a US president.
President Joe Biden also vowed to unite Americans. “My whole soul in this, bringing America together, uniting our people,” he said.
History was also made when Kamala Harris was sworn-in as the first Asian American, Black-American, and woman Vice President. She takes over from Mike Pence, who attended the ceremony that was boycotted by Donald Trump, whose tenure was largely chaotic.