Trump's Muslim ban, take two

Today, President Trump signed yet another misguided, discriminatory executive order on immigration. This EO replaces the January 27 executive order on immigration that banned people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – from entering the United States. Despite changes to the scope and timetable, this EO is still legally and morally unacceptable. Rather than keep the US more safe, this order and the January 29 order undermine our national security and contradict American values. The Yemen Peace Project (YPP) calls on the Trump administration to rescind the order, and urges Congress to overturn and defund it.

As a result of the January 27 executive order, nearly 60,000 people – possibly more – had their visas revoked, while hundreds of families were stranded, detained, and/or separated in airports across the world. After massive protests in the streets and at airports, a temporary restraining order against the executive order issued by federal judge James Robart was upheld by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals, which found that the EO likely violated the United States Constitution.

Like the January 27 order, this new EO will immediately ban new visa applications for immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from “Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen” for 90 days. The new EO signed today will also freeze refugee resettlement for 120 days, cap the number of refugees resettled in the US at 50,000 for the fiscal year, and allow state and local governments to prevent the resettlement of refugees in their jurisdictions.

During the 90-day ban, US agencies will review current regulations and determine what other information must be submitted by these governments for future visa applications, and all visa applicants will be required to submit to an in-person interview. The visa ban on these countries will remain in place until their governments meet these new standards. In the case of Yemen, this essentially means the ban could last indefinitely.

The order also directs the Department of Homeland Security to implement a “biometric entry-exit system” for all travelers from the designated countries. This kind of indiscriminate surveillance based on national origin is discriminatory and dangerous, and wastes resources that would be better spent elsewhere.

Trump’s travel bans are not about keeping America safe, they’re about playing to his base by stoking xenophobia and Islamophobia. Ultimately these travel bans undermine the security of our nation by dismantling American families, signaling that discrimination against Muslim Americans is acceptable, and targeting some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, while providing further fuel for the extremist narrative that America is at war with Islam. The YPP will continue working with members of the Yemeni-American community, a large coalition of civil rights organizations, and members of Congress to fight these restrictions until they are overturned.

Below is a summary of the order's provisions.

  • The order will impose "a temporary pause on the entry of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen" beginning on March 16. This ban will last for at least 90 days. Legal residents of the US (green card holders) and people with valid visas issued prior to January 27 are NOT subject to the ban. Dual nationals travelling on passports from non-affected countries are NOT subject to the ban.
  • US government agencies will review current regulations and will demand that the governments of these and other countries provide more information and put in place more reliable identification systems for their nationals seeking US visas.
  • The visa ban on these countries will remain in place until their governments meet these new standards. In the case of Yemen, this means the ban may last indefinitely.
  • From now on, all applicants for US visas will be required to undergo in-person interviews with US consular staff, and will be subject to more stringent screening measures.
  • All refugee resettlement will be frozen for 120 days, with the exception of refugees already scheduled to travel to the US.
  • A maximum of 50,000 refugees will be resettled in the US in the current fiscal year. This is less than half than the target established by President Obama.
  • The US will put in place a new biometric system to track all travelers to the US from the designated countries. 

Orubba Almansouri

Orubba Almansouri is a native of Yemen. In 2016, she graduated from the City College of New York with a BA in History and English. As a Mellon Mays Fellow she researched the intersection of oral traditions and literature in the works of Yemeni author Nadia Al-Kokabani and the importance of oral poetry and folklore in Yemen. Currently, Orubba is an MA candidate at NYU’s Near Eastern Studies program where she continues her study of Yemen’s literary and cultural history.

As the YPP’s Community Advocacy Intern, Orubba helps the YPP communicate the needs and interests of the Yemeni-American community to local and national policymakers.