CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – President Joe Biden put an end to the Muslim travel ban and the impact is already being felt locally.
One Pineville family is already preparing to reunite with a loved one who’s been stuck overseas.
With a sweep of his pen, Biden ended a controversial travel ban that has kept Wisal Ahmed’s youngest brother Walid, alone in Egypt, separated from his entire family.
“Everyone is here except him” Ahmed said.
Ahmed, an architect who lives in Pineville, says her family came to America from Sudan seeking the American dream. She immigrated years ago with her father and four of her siblings. Her mother, a U.S. citizen arrived in 2018, leaving Walid behind after his visa was denied.
“We did all we can to bring him over,” Ahmed added.
The Trump administration insisted the ban, first issued in 2017, was necessary to protect national security. But critics like Imam John Ederer say it unfairly targeted Muslims.
“The people’s lives that were ruined was massive,” Ederer said. “And then, in terms of Islamophobia, it just exacerbated the whole thing.”
Families like the Ahmed’s were torn apart.
“My mother is really distressed about the situation,” Ahmed said. “She’s in her 80s and she wants to see him and be here with us.”
Their prayers were answered when Biden issued an executive order rescinding the ban.
Ahmed’s family has already hired a lawyer to help Walid reapply for a visa.
“We’re really hopeful. We’re very happy, very optimistic that we can reconcile again and be one family,” Ahmed said.
As director of the Muslim Community Center in Charlotte, Ederer says it’s an opportunity to educate and build relationships in the community.
“Just opening discussions. Know your Muslim neighbor. Encouraging kids to be proactive with their teachers at school,” Ederer said.