“Trump’s call to dramatically expand the travel ban, explained” by Nicole Narea, Vox, January 22, 2020
Three years ago today, President Donald Trump signed his first Muslim ban, immediately affecting millions of individuals around the world by imposing a 90-day travel ban on nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries and indefinitely banning the entry of Syrian refugees. While this xenophobic policy founded in religious discrimination was sold to the American public as necessary to advance the national interest, the country immediately rose up in opposition, fighting back against the chaos and confusion that the ban caused at airports nationwide.
Federal courts served as a necessary check against the administration by blocking the first two versions of the ban, but in June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Trump’s third version to proceed. Ignoring overwhelming evidence that the ban was motivated by the president’s own long-standing anti-Muslim animus, the court refused to block implementation at least in part because the ban included a provision that allows individuals to request a waiver. Yet the Trump administration has largely failed to implement a meaningful waiver process, and recent data show that only a limited number of applications have been granted. A House Judiciary Committee hearing last fall exposed inconsistent adjudications and emphasized the harm that the Muslim ban continues to inflict upon families in the United States whose loved ones are stuck abroad.
The administration now reportedly plans to extend the ban to certain nationals from Belarus, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. Democratic members of Congress have introduced the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act, which would repeal the Muslim ban and broaden the nondiscrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act to include religious-based discrimination. As the Trump administration continues to promote bigoted policies that spread hateful rhetoric and separate families, this legislation would amend U.S. immigration laws to prohibit religious discrimination and provide an important check on the ability of Trump and future presidents to impose bans that are based in bias, not fact.
The Muslim ban undermines the rule of law in the U.S. immigration system by advancing inhumane policies and violating common understandings of fairness and decency. For more on how spreading dysfunction throughout the U.S. immigration system can undermine the rule of law, see CAP’s report: “Restoring the Rule of Law Through a Fair, Humane, and Workable Immigration System.”