Muslim and Refugee Ban


On Holocaust Remembrance Day President Trump sign the executive order “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States” that bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for at least 90 days.  But the executive order also makes clear those seven countries are just a starting point for a likely broader ban.

This order also temporarily suspends the refugee program stopping the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months and bans people refugees from Syria permanently.  Trump also more than halved the number of refugees who could eventually be admitted in 2017 to 50,000 from the 110,000.  This order also prioritizes Christians being persecuted over Muslims being persecuted for future refugee acceptance.   The executive order also calls for the secretaries of state and homeland security, the director of national intelligence and the FBI director to develop and implement new immigration screening procedures.

ACLU Fights Back

According to the ACLU,

“The executive order went into effect immediately and so did its destructive intent. At John F. Kennedy International Airport last night, Hameed Khalid Darweesh arrived and was immediately detained. Darweesh worked as interpreter for the Army’s 101st Airborne Division and, according to Brandon Friedman, a platoon leader in Iraq, saved countless U.S. service members’ lives. We don’t know how many other refugees and foreign nationals with green cards or visas might have been detained when they tried to make their way into the United States today, but we intend to find out.

The ACLU with other organizations immediately sprang into action and challenged Trump’s executive order in court as violating the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. We immediately got a hearing and argued our case. At around 9 p.m., Federal District Court Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a stay, blocking President Trump’s discriminatory policy from taking effect and preventing refugees and immigrants from being deported. She did not rule on the constitutionality of the order, but for now, the men and women who would have been deported are safe.”

This executive order is controversial for a number of reasons:

  1.  No US Refugees have ever committed an act of Terrorism

1. The Paris attackers were not refugees: Assuming that the user of a fake Syrian passport found near the body of an attacker belonged to the attacker, which isn’t clear, it appears that he may have exploited the flow of people into Europe, but he was not a refugee. He did not receive refugee designation from the United Nations or vetting from intelligence agencies. He was never approved for refugee status in any country. To become a refugee in the United States, you undergo a multi-stage vetting process and only after receiving U.N. designation by trained officers in the field. The U.S. can vet refugees prior to admission, which means we can weed out terrorists and those most likely to become involved in terrorism, accepting only the most vulnerable. Europe cannot do the same. What happened in Paris is not applicable to the U.S. refugee process.

2. U.S. refugees don’t become terrorists: The history of the U.S. refugee program demonstrates that the lengthy and extensive vetting that all refugees must undergo is an effective deterrent for terrorists. Since 1980, the U.S. has invited in millions of refugees, including hundreds of thousands from the Middle East. Not one has committed an act of terrorism in the U.S. (update for those unwilling to read the source, the Boston bombers were not refugees). Traditional law enforcement and security screening processes have a proven record of handling the threat from terrorist posing as refugees.

3. Other migration channels are easier to exploit than the U.S. refugee process: The previous point can also be made another way. Non-refugees have carried out all terrorist attacks over the past 35 years. That means they used other means to arrive in the U.S. All of the 9/11 hijackers used student or tourist visas. These visas are much easier and faster to obtain than refugee status, which takes up to two years and requires a multi-stage vetting process and U.N. referral. Refugee status is the single most difficult way to come to the U.S. It makes no sense for a terrorist to try to use the resettlement process for an attack.

4. ISIS sees Syrian refugees as traitors: According to ISIS, Syrian Muslim refugees are traitors to the radical Islamic cause. “It is correct for Muslims to leave the lands of the infidel for the lands of Islam, but not vice versa,” one ISIS video said in September. Here are several other examples of similar condemnation from this year. Nearly 90 percent of displaced Syrians in Turkey have no sympathy for ISIS at all, even though ISIS is fighting the person, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who most refugees see as their main enemy. Kurdish and Christian refugees see ISIS as their main foe. Some have speculated that the attacker in Paris intentionally left the fake Syrian passport near his body to help turn the West against Syrian refugees. Turning away Syrian refugees plays into ISIS’s hands.

5. Turning away allies will make us less safe: Callous disregard for the fate of refugees—our potential allies in the war against ISIS—will drive them back into the hands of the person they are fleeing: Bashar al-Assad, the hated Syrian dictator. This will lead some refugees to see ISIS as their only remaining ally and safeguard against Assad. The evidence in the academic literature is that keeping refugees penned-up in camps near the zone of conflict increases terrorism in those areas, but resettling them outside of those areas does not. During the Cold War, we used refugee resettlement to gain foreign policy assets, spies, allies, and spokesmen to refute the enemy’s propaganda. In the fight against ISIS, allies gained from aiding refugees will be as important as any weapon we have.

6. America should demonstrate moral courage: During World War II, the U.S. turned away Jews due to security concerns. We sent shiploads back to the camps because we were scared that Nazi spies could hide in their midst (which was not an entirely unfounded concern). The lesson of the Holocaust, as I noted here, is that we must deal with threats without rejecting our ethical obligations. We must  not send those fleeing persecution back to their persecutors. The definition of moral courage is to resist allowing fear to overwhelm our humanity.

2.  The immigration ban on these seven countries have never attacked US. 

Instead the countries that have killed the most US citizens have been left off the list.


3. Many countries that have actually killed Americans but escaped Trump’s immigration ban also happen to be countries that Trump has investments in

Trumps Investments in Countries that have killed US Citizens

SAUDI ARABIA – Not much is known about all of Trump’s connection to the Saudis. Trump registered eight companies tied to hotel interests in the country shortly after launching his campaign in August 2015, according to The Washington Post. During a campaign rally in Alabama last year, Trump expressed his admiration for the Saudis. “They buy apartment from me,” he said. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

Egypt – Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC, both of which connected to a development venture.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Trump Organization has a licensing and management deal in Dubai for two golf courses and a whole neighborhood of luxury villas currently under construction.

TURKEY – Trump also currently licenses his name to two luxury towers in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul. He received as much as $5 million from the deals last year, according to his latest financial disclosures. Furthermore, since the election, Trump’s development partner, Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding, has seen its shares surge by nearly 11%.

In addition President Trump holds extensive business interests in the Muslim majority nations of Indonesia and Azerbaijan. Both have documented ties to Islamic terrorism — yet neither is included on the executive order’s blacklist.

Learn More

NPR:  Trump’s Immigration Freeze Omits Those Linked To Deadly Attacks In U.S.

NY Daily News: President Trump’s Muslim ban excludes countries linked to his sprawling business empire

PEW: Key facts about refugees to the U.S.

CNN: Trump’s latest executive order: Banning people from 7 countries and more

Follow Campaigns


Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

National Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights

International Refugee Assistant Project

American Immigration Council

Reform Immigration for America

Indivisible Guide:  US Senators on Muslim Ban

Move On Petition: Reject Trump’s Muslim Ban

White House Petition: Rescind the Muslim Ban

How To Call Your Representative About Donald Trump’s Refugee Ban