Muslim ban

The Yemen Peace Project Condemns Department of Homeland Security Refusal to Re-Designate TPS for Yemenis

July 5, 2018 -- Today, United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen extended Yemen’s Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, but did not re-designate TPS so that other eligible immigrants from Yemen can apply for its protections. While the Yemen Peace Project is relieved that the administration has refrained from returning an estimated 1,200 Yemenis to a destructive civil war and humanitarian crisis, we condemn the decision to not re-designate, effectively shutting all domestic doors to Yemenis seeking to escape a conflict that the US government has a hand in perpetuating.

Established in the 1990s, TPS offers temporary residency and work permissions to residents of countries experiencing armed conflicts or extraordinary conditions (such as famine or natural disaster) that prevent safe return, renewable for periods up to 18 months. TPS was first granted to Yemen in September 2015, roughly a year after the start of the country’s civil war; it was extended and re-designated in early 2017 due to both the worsening of the civil war and the onset of the country’s complex humanitarian crises. At the same time, however, the Trump administration pushed forward multiple iterations of a travel ban on nationals from Yemen and a number of other Muslim-majority nations. In June 2018, the Supreme Court upheld the third iteration of this Muslim ban on fallacious national security grounds, even as several justices recognized its clear anti-Muslim animus.

The Supreme Court's ruling has placed a sharp limit on the effect that TPS can have for Yemenis attempting to find some respite from conflict. In this context, the refusal to re-designate TPS, paired with its unjustifiably harsh restrictions on refugee resettlement and asylum, means that the administration has effectively shut all doors to Yemenis seeking shelter in a country that, by materially supporting one side of the civil war, contributes to the devastation from which they are leaving. This failure to re-designate has particularly inhuman repercussions for current Yemeni TPS holders. Over the last several months, the YPP has had conversations with multiple TPS recipients who were hoping to reunite with family members living in limbo in Europe, neighboring countries, or Yemen itself. For now, the Muslim ban’s laughable waiver policy notwithstanding, the administration has closed all legal avenues to the reunification of parents and their children, siblings, and spouses.

Given the Trump administration's seemingly systematic revocation of TPS for residents from other countries experiencing armed conflict and humanitarian crises, we recognize that Yemeni TPS holders have fared better than other TPS recipients in the United States. Additionally, the same xenophobic calculus that determined these decisions also tears children from their parents, militarizes borders, and seeks to revoke citizenships. Against this onslaught, only patient, determined organizing among Americans of all backgrounds, done in solidarity with our immigrant neighbors, can shift both the substance of US policy and the political climate which informs it. Even in a time of significant setbacks, we stand ready to continue this work.

Finally, we want to applaud the work of Yemenis, Yemeni-Americans, and domestic advocacy organizations that brought public pressure to bear on the administration and did secure the full 18-month extension for current TPS holders.

June 25-July 1: Hadi pressures Houthis, coalition halts attack on Hudaydah


Yemeni officials report that coalition airstrikes have killed a family of eight in Amran, north of San’a. An additional twenty were injured in the attacks.

Coalition forces are moving closer to the Hudaydah city center, as fierce fighting has broken out out near Hudaydah University.

The Al Jazeera Listening Post dissects how the US and the UK media are misrepresenting the war in Yemen as a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, rather than a conflict that the two countries are deeply involved in.

YPP calls on Congress & the American people to act after Supreme Court upholds Muslim Ban

Today the US Supreme Court, in a five-to-four decision, upheld President Trump’s executive order preventing individuals from Yemen and several other countries from entering the US. Lower courts previously found that this policy was inspired by anti-Muslim bias. Trump has made numerous public statements making clear his xenophobic and Islamophobic feelings, and his desire to prevent foreign Muslims from entering the US. The Supreme Court’s majority did not dispute these facts today; rather, they found that the latest version of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” sufficiently camouflaged this hatred under the guise of national security. After listing many of the President’s anti-Muslim statements in their opinion today, the Justices then describe the bureaucratic steps the administration took to make its discriminatory policy more palatable, and ultimately conclude that the text of the executive order is “facially neutral.” In other words, the five Republican Justices found that although the President of the United States is a bigot, his lawyers did not include any openly bigoted language in their third revision of an order expressly designed to keep Muslim immigrants out of this country.

Trump's new travel ban is still unjustifiable and unacceptable

On September 24, President Trump signed a new proclamation placing restrictions on immigration and travel to the United States for nationals of certain countries. This is the White House’s third attempt to ban travel to the US based on national origin alone. Like the previous travel bans, this one is justified by the administration on national security grounds. But experts and officials within Trump’s own government have previously found that such restrictions do not have any positive impact on security. Rather than a legitimate security measure, this proclamation is a politically-motivated gesture intended to satisfy xenophobic, Islamophobic, and racist elements within the US. Unlike the previous “Muslim Ban” orders, this document adds two states that are not predominantly Muslim to the list of effective countries. Nevertheless, as US federal courts have confirmed based on the president’s own statements, these orders are all attempts to realize Trump’s campaign promise to ban foreign Muslims from entering the US. The Yemen Peace Project condemns this discriminatory decree, and calls on the courts and Congress to overturn these restrictions, as US law demands.

June 19-25: HRW reveals torture of Yemenis in UAE-run prisons

Monday, June 19

Abdul-Raqib Saif Fath, Yemen’s minister of local administration, stated that Houthi forces and their allies have been blocking humanitarian aid from entering Yemen. The minister alleged that Houthi militias have previously burned trucks carrying humanitarian cargo, and in other cases they have allegedly blocked dozens of aid ships and have stolen aid supplies. These actions are regarded as violations of international humanitarian law and raise the concerns of the international community, the minister stressed.

May 2-8: Tensions between Hadi and UAE, cholera outbreaks threaten public health

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Reuters reports that Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has said that the offensive on Hudaydah that Saudi Arabia wants to launch would have heavy casualties for both Saudi-backed forces and their Houthi adversaries. The Washington Post, meanwhile, discusses the concern among U.S. lawmakers over the possibility of an attack on the port city.

AP focuses on statements by Prince Mohammed bin Salman dismissing the possibility of dialogue with Iran as unrealistic and stating that Saudi Arabia would not wait “until there becomes a battle in Saudi Arabia, so we will work so that it becomes a battle for them in Iran….”

April 17-24: "Famine-like" conditions evident, aid organizations call for more funds to prevent catastrophe

Monday, April 17, 2017

According to the Emirates News Agency, the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) will provide 53 Yemenis affected by the war with medical treatment at hospitals in India.

Gulf News reports that Yemeni government forces have gained control of a military base north of al-Mokha. Houthi-Saleh forces had used the base to launch missile attacks against coalition forces along the coast.

An article from AP focuses on the work of Fadia Najib Thabet, a student in Vermont who recently received the Secretary of State's International Women of Courage Award for her work as a child protection officer in southern Yemen.

April 11-16: WFP ramps up food aid to Yemen, Congress skeptical of supporting Saudi campaign

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The UN said today that the risk of mass starvation is quickly growing in Yemen, as well as in South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.

Norwegian Refugee Council’s press release today calls Yemen an “extreme situation for women,” emphasizing the importance of focusing on women’s issues and rights as women have been increasingly politically marginalized since the start of the war.

April 4-10: Government forces position around Hudaydah, UN calls for protection of Port

Tuesday, April 4

Pro-Hadi forces in Yemen are gathering around the Port of Hudaydah and a senior military official reports that “only the timing remains to be decided” of an impending military operation in the area. It is possible that the Saudi-led coalition is waiting for approval from its Western allies before launching the offensive, according to Reuters. The International Rescue Committee, meanwhile, said that an attack on the port would have catastrophic effects on the Yemeni people.  

Meanwhile, CNN reports that US special operations forces have increased ground operations in Yemen in addition to the recent campaign of airstrikes in the country. The ground operations, which have not been publicly acknowledged by the Pentagon, are specifically aimed at covert intelligence gathering on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), according to CNN.

Federal judges block new Muslim Ban before implementation

Yesterday afternoon a federal judge in Hawaii issued a restraining order preventing the federal government from implementing some of the provisions of President Trump's second executive order on immigration, travel, and refugee resettlement. Among other things, the order would have prohibited the issuance of new visas for nationals of Yemen, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan for at least 90 days, and paused all refugee resettlement and the processing of refugee applications for 120 days. It also would have reduced the maximum number of refugees admitted to the US in 2017 to 50,000, less than half the maximum set by the Obama administration. The Hawaii ruling blocks those provisions. A federal court in Maryland ruled a few hours later, with similar effect.

March 6-13: States fight new travel ban, Trump seeks to change rules of engagement

Monday, March 6, 2017

US airstrikes killed a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Yasir al-Silmi, on March 2. Al-Silmi was released from the detention center in 2009, where he had been held for seven years.

President Trump announced a new version of the travel and immigration ban on six Muslim-majority countries today. The changes to the ban include removing Iraq from the list of countries that will be impacted, and shifts in the timeline of implementation, but the order remains extremely discriminatory and is opposed by human rights groups such as Amnesty International (and the YPP).

Trump's Muslim ban, take two

Today, President Trump signed yet another misguided, discriminatory executive order on immigration. This EO updates the January 29 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 both executive orders.