Rescinding the Travel Ban Will Improve National Security

Note: This brief is part of a series of papers, Insider Perspectives: National Security and Immigration, exploring the intersection between national security and immigration issues. The papers are aimed at helping to facilitate constructive conversations that will lead to bipartisan efforts to modernize our immigration system. We begin with the premise that our nation’s immigration system can, and should, treat immigrants with dignity and compassion, while serving our national security interests. The author is a senior advisor to the National Immigration Forum on national security matters and a former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention during the Trump administration.  

By Elizabeth Neumann

President-elect Joe Biden has indicated he will rescind the travel and refugee bans President Trump enacted through Executive Order (EO) 13780 and Proclamation 9645. This paper discusses the harms of the bans and makes recommendations to the Biden Administration about how to rescind them while also maintaining appropriate security measures.

These bans damaged our nation’s reputation and were an unnecessary distraction from needed security enhancements. However, as a national security official who participated in screening and vetting enhancements and the implementation of the travel bans, I urge the Biden administration to leverage some of the security enhancements that accompanied EO 13780 and Proclamation 9645 to make our country even safer.

America’s approach to national security relies on strong alliances with foreign governments, nongovernmental organizations and private industry. We have damaged those relationships. The only way to begin to repair America’s reputation, and begin restoring those alliances critical to national security, is to rescind these bans immediately.

You can read the full paper here.

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