WASHINGTON – Three years ago in Iran, Marziyeh Ehtesab won the Diversity Visa lottery, a U.S. government program that grants recipients permanent U.S. residency. But after paying all the necessary fees and filing for a visa, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was revoked because of the Trump administration’s ban on Muslim and African immigrants.
On Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order to end the Trump-era travel ban that barred many Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S. But between the expiration of diversity visas, mounting administrative fees and a lack of clarity from the White House on next steps, the consequences of the travel ban continues.
“My sister had immigrated to the U.S. in 2013 but was feeling sad being far away from me and our family,” Ehtesab told the NoMuslimBanEver campaign, an advocacy group rallying for support for Muslim immigrants formed from different organizations. “So, I decided to register for [a Diversity visa] because I could join my sister while still living with my husband and children and my sister wouldn’t feel lonely. We won the DV lottery. We spent a lot of money in a process that sadly we got refused visas because of our nationality.”
One year after Biden’s inauguration, the NoMuslimBanEver campaign released a sign-on letter detailing executive actions that the Biden administration can implement to help provide relief for affected Muslim immigrants like Ehtesab, who had won diversity visas during the ban.
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