Understanding the Muslim Bans

The Mus­lim Bans are a series of dis­crim­i­na­to­ry exec­u­tive orders and procla­ma­tions that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has imple­ment­ed. While the first ver­sion, Mus­lim Ban 1.0, was signed and went into effect on 1/27/2017, with­in a day of being signed, thou­sands of indi­vid­u­als across the coun­try rushed to the air­ports in protest, and sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of it were imme­di­ate­ly blocked by the fed­er­al courts. The admin­is­tra­tion has con­tin­ued to issue dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the Mus­lim Ban, which are work­ing their way through the court sys­tem.  Just as with Mus­lim Ban 1.0, the fed­er­al courts have tem­porar­i­ly blocked sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the sub­se­quent Mus­lim Bans, find­ing them to be bla­tant­ly anti-Mus­lim, uncon­sti­tu­tion­al, and an abuse of the President’s pow­er. The fight to chal­lenge the Mus­lim Bans con­tin­ues.                                               


Despite intense oppo­si­tion and crit­i­cism from the pub­lic, allied leg­is­la­tors, and the fed­er­al courts, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has also pushed for­ward oth­er dis­crim­i­na­to­ry poli­cies that share the same goal as the Mus­lim Bans and tar­get Mus­lims and oth­er immi­grants and com­mu­ni­ties of Color.

Extreme Vetting (or the Backdoor Muslim Ban) – On 3/15/2017, the Sec­re­tary of State called for enhanced screen­ing of nation­als of the six coun­tries includ­ed in Mus­lim Ban 2.0. On 5/23/2017, the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get approved dis­cre­tionary use of “extreme vet­ting” ques­tions, includ­ing inquiries into social media accounts and exten­sive bio­graph­i­cal and trav­el infor­ma­tion from the last 15 years. Impacts of the pol­i­cy include a dra­mat­ic decline in visa appli­ca­tions; fur­ther delays in visa issuance to nation­als of Mus­lim-major­i­ty coun­tries tar­get­ed by the Mus­lim Bans; and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices while issu­ing visas.

Ending Temporary Protection Status (TPS) for Sudan - On 9/19/2017, a few days before Sudan was removed from Mus­lim Ban 3.0, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion announced an end to TPS for Sudan, effec­tive 11/2/2018. Sudanese TPS hold­ers may be forced to return to a coun­try that is still unsta­ble, despite this being the very rea­son for orig­i­nal­ly grant­i­ng TPS to peo­ple from Sudan. These mea­sures raise con­cerns about what is to come next for over 400,000 peo­ple with TPS from dif­fer­ent countries.

Slashing Legal Immigration and Cutting Diversity in our Immigration System – On 2/7/2017, Sen­a­tor Cot­ton (R‑AK) and Sen­a­tor Pur­due (R‑GA) intro­duced a bill that would cut green cards by more than half and end our fam­i­ly-based immi­gra­tion sys­tem. If passed, the Reform­ing Amer­i­can Immi­gra­tion for Strong Employ­ment (RAISE) Act, would cut cur­rent lev­els of legal immi­gra­tion by over 50%, and elim­i­nate the Diver­si­ty Visa Lot­tery Pro­gram, which pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for coun­tries that send few immi­grants – often those with a major­i­ty of Mus­lim and/or Black pop­u­la­tions – to apply for a green card.

Slashing Annual Refugee Admissions – On 9/27/2017, the Trump admin­is­tra­tion dras­ti­cal­ly low­ered the annu­al refugee admis­sion cap from 110,000 to 45,000, the low­est cap since 1980, and Mus­lim Ban 4.0 specif­i­cal­ly tar­gets coun­tries that account for approx­i­mate­ly 80% of all Mus­lim refugees reset­tled in the U.S. in the past two years.


*The information provided in this document is just a basic summary and is not legal advice. Every person’s situation is different. For legal advice please contact an attorney. For any information regarding the Muslim Bans please contact Subha Varadarajan, Muslim Ban Legal and Outreach Fellow: A project of Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, and National Immigration Law Center at varadarajan@nilc.org *


Ban # Date Issued Targeted Populations[1] Impact on Refugees Duration Key Court Actions Current Status
1.0 1/27/17 All refugees and nation­als from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Soma­lia, Sudan, Syr­ia, and Yemen Halt­ed entire program 90 days for all nation­als (not dual cit­i­zens) of tar­get­ed coun­tries; 120 days for refugees; indef­i­nite for Syr­i­an refugees On 2/9/17, the Ninth Cir­cuit held that the Ban should be blocked Revoked by Mus­lim Ban 2.0 on 3/6/2017
2.0 3/6/17 All refugees and nation­als from Iran, Libya, Soma­lia, Sudan, Syr­ia, and Yemen Halt­ed entire program 90 days for all nation­als of tar­get­ed countries,

120 days for all refugees

On 6/26/17, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) allowed part of the ban to go into effect, apply­ing it to those lack­ing a bona fide rela­tion­ship[2] to the U.S. On 9/24/17, the Ban on nation­als from the tar­get­ed coun­tries expired and on 10/24/17, the Ban on refugees expired. SCOTUS dis­missed the cas­es chal­leng­ing the ban as moot.
3.0 9/24/17 Most or all nation­als from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Soma­lia, Syr­ia, and Yemen and gov­ern­ment offi­cials from Venezuela and their families N/A Indef­i­nite On 10/17/17 the Mary­land dis­trict court in IRAP v. Trump blocked the Ban for all indi­vid­u­als with a bona fide rela­tion­ship to the U.S[3]


Pend­ing review:

On 12/6/17, the Ninth Cir­cuit Court of appeals will hear Hawaii v. Trump, and on 12/8/2017, and the Fourth Cir­cuit Court of Appeals will hear IRAP v. Trump 

4.0 10/24/17 Refugees from Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Soma­lia, Sudan, South Sudan,

Syr­ia, Yemen and any state­less individuals

Halt­ed pro­gram for tar­get­ed pop­u­la­tions and extreme vet­ting mea­sures for all oth­er refugees Indef­i­nite Chal­lenge filed dis­trict court in Seat­tle (JFS v. Trump) on 11/13/17 Still in effect, pre­lim­i­nary injunc­tion hear­ing set for 12/21/2017

[1]  Waivers may be grant­ed under cir­cum­stances set in each Exec­u­tive Order or Proclamation.

[2]  As of Decem­ber 1, 2017, close famil­ial rela­tion­ship in the U.S or a for­mal doc­u­ment­ed rela­tion­ship with a U.S enti­ty. Famil­ial rela­tion­ship includes par­ents (includ­ing in-laws and step- par­ents), spous­es, fiancées, chil­dren (includ­ing step chil­dren), sib­lings (includ­ing step and half-sib­lings), grand­par­ents, grand­chil­dren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. For­mal doc­u­ment­ed rela­tion­ship between stu­dents and uni­ver­si­ties; work­ers and com­pa­nies; and lec­tur­er invit­ed to speak; among oth­er exam­ples are required.

[3] The Hawaii dis­trict court in Hawaii v. Trump ini­tial­ly blocked the Ban for all indi­vid­u­als, BUT on 11/13/17 the Ninth Cir­cuit lim­it­ed this rul­ing to only pro­tect those indi­vid­u­als with a bona fide rela­tion­ship to the U.S.

SAALT thanks our part­ners at Nation­al Immi­gra­tion Law Cen­ter (NILC), Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Islam­ic Rela­tions (CAIR), and Asian Amer­i­cans Advanc­ing Jus­tice (AAJC) for this info­graph­ic.