Airbnb’s mission is to help people belong anywhere. Every day our hosts welcome people into their homes and help guests satisfy a fundamental need for connection. We believe this connection via travel is transformational – it allows us to see the possibilities in the world and is a step towards acceptance and understanding. That is why we celebrate today’s reversal of the 2017 United States travel ban that prevented citizens from certain countries to seek entry into the US.
Policies like the U.S. 2017 travel ban, unlike restrictions intended to protect public health during the current global pandemic, go against Airbnb’s mission and values. We believe that restricting travel based solely on a person’s nationality or religion is fundamentally wrong.
When the policy was announced in 2017, we launched our #weaccept campaign in support of people who have been displaced – whether by war or conflict, or other factors like bias or discrimination – and are acutely vulnerable to not being accepted. We set a goal then to help provide short-term stays over the next five years for 100,000 people in need, including refugees, disaster survivors, and relief workers, and committed $4 million over the course of four years to the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to support the most critical needs of displaced populations globally. Since then, more than 100,000 hosts have offered to open up their homes and helped provide accommodations to 75,000 people in times of need.
We are grateful for our host community’s generosity and remain committed to doing our part to continue supporting vulnerable communities and promoting belonging to achieve greater acceptance for people who have been displaced.
Today we are proud to announce that Airbnb.org has committed more than $2 million this year to organizations who will be at the forefront of supporting refugees and individuals that may have been impacted by the travel ban, including $1 million to further our investment and partnership with the IRC. These funds will also help organizations like HIAS and Church World Service provide temporary stays to refugees while they work to find long-term housing.
“At Airbnb we continue to believe that no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love, or who you worship, everyone deserves to belong,” said Joe Gebbia, Airbnb Co-Founder and Chairman of Airbnb.org. “The reversal of the travel ban is a step in the right direction and will ensure the US remains a beacon of opportunity for so many around the world. We are grateful to the policymakers and organizations that helped advocate for this change and to the families they serve, we are proud to say ‘welcome home’.”
“The travel ban against Muslim-majority countries – in all its forms – has needlessly kept families separated and denied refugees the chance to rebuild their lives in the US,” said Lauren Gray, Senior Director of Global Corporate Partnerships at the IRC. “The IRC is proud to continue building upon our multi-year partnership with Airbnb, and we join them in applauding the Biden administration for repealing this discriminatory and harmful policy. Their support today will be crucial in our efforts to rebuild America’s longstanding role as a safe haven for the world’s most vulnerable refugees.”
Since it was first announced in 2017, Airbnb has opposed the US travel ban, joining more than 100 other US companies in filing an amicus brief in support of a court challenge to the ban. Airbnb has also endorsed the National Origin-Based Anti-discrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, introduced by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Congresswoman Judy Chu of California in April 2019. While today’s action is an important step, the NO BAN Act remains crucial to prevent this type of discrimination in the future and we will continue to support its passage with partners like Muslim Advocates and others.