The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has launched a petition urging President Biden to end travel bans into the US and address backlogs and delays in the US Department of State.

A ban on most noncitizens entering the US from the Republic of Ireland, as well as many other nations, has been in effect in the US since March 2020 when the pandemic began to take hold.

Now, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is calling for the so-called ‘travel bans’ in the US to be rescinded, citing a decrease in cases and an increase in vaccinations across the country.

On its online petition, the AILA writes: “As the U.S. vaccination rates increase, COVID-19 infections subside, and the U.S. is resuming some pre-pandemic activities, it is time for the Biden administration to terminate immigration policies that restrict entry into the United States. 

“These policies, which include regional travel bans (Presidential Proclamations 10143, 10199, 9984, and 9992) and Title 42, were enacted under the misguided notion of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

“These travel restrictions enacted by both the Trump and Biden administrations have exacerbated already crisis-level immigrant and nonimmigrant visa backlogs and processing delays at the Department of State (DOS).

“The consequences of not rescinding restrictive policies or addressing visa backlogs and delays will keep families apart longer, impact foreign visitors and students, and impair the ability of U.S. businesses to bring in or bring back foreign talent to fill seasonal and permanent positions, all of which impact our economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Join AILA in urging President Biden to rescind restrictive immigration policies, address visa backlogs and delays at DOS, and reestablish the U.S. as a welcoming nation.

"We encourage you to draw from your personal and professional experience to showcase impacted individuals, families, and businesses.”

To highlight their mission, the AILA has shared the story of one Irish man who, currently living and working in the US on a visa, is facing a dilemma as the health of his mother at home in Ireland is deteriorating. 

"Right now, President Biden is more focused on being seen as 'tough' on COVID-19, even though that results in scapegoating 'immigrants' like his predecessor," immigration lawyer Matthew Maiona writes.

"Rather than implementing rational and necessary prevention methods based in science to protect our health and economy, the Biden Administration maintains senseless travel bans. The resulting impact harms families like Liam’s that are torn apart by arbitrary restrictions."

In 2020, as coronavirus began to take hold globally, President Trump announced the ban on some international travelers on March 12. Two days later on March 14, the Republic of Ireland was added to the ban.

On January 25 this year, just days after his inauguration, President Biden issued his own proclamation which continued the travel ban for most noncitizens entering the US who have been in the Republic of Ireland, among other nations, in the previous 14 days.

In recent weeks, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo hinted that the travel ban may not be rescinded until after Labor Day, September 6 this year.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Raimondo said: "I can promise that getting business travel and international travel going again is a top priority."

"I'm doing everything I can as an advocate to open key corridors for business travel internationally," Raimondo said, adding "I'm hopeful that post-Labor Day we will see a nice uptick in business travel and international travel."

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