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September 19, 2019
One of the first executive orders President Trump issued banned entry to the United States to people from several majority Muslim countries. From CNN:
As President, Trump issued an executive order banning entry for 90 days by citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also indefinitely halted refugees from Syria. Trump also stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months.
What became known as the “Muslim ban” was challenged in court, and Trump’s team re-wrote the order.
Six weeks after the original executive order was unveiled, Trump announced a new version of the travel ban, which he later deemed a "watered-down version" of the first order. This time, the ban excluded Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries whose citizens were temporarily blocked. It also barred foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
This version was blocked by federal courts as well. However, on appeal, the Supreme Court allowed parts of the ban to stand:
In its decision to partially greenlight the ban, the Supreme Court said foreigners from six majority-Muslim countries must now have a "bona fide" relationship to a person or entity to enter the US. The new guidelines said applicants must prove their relationship to a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling in the US in order to enter the country.
The ACLU took the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling to talk about some of the impacts of the travel ban:
This day goes down in the history books, not only as an enormous failure to live up to our values of religious and racial equality, but for the real impact that the ban has on people’s lives. Take Anahita, who never got to say goodbye to her father in Iran before he passed away and did not even get to mourn with her family. Or Nisrin, who was detained during the chaotic implementation of the first Muslim ban simply because of her Sudanese citizenship, although she has lived in the United States for 25 years. Let’s also not forget the numerous students afraid to return home to visit their families because their visas may not be reissued. Or the families now traveling thousands of miles and spending thousands of dollars to simply be able to hug someone they love at a library on the border of Canada and the United States.
Though there is a waiver process, the numbers have been sparse. In the first three months, the government issued just two waivers. As of June, the number of waivers grew to around 570 — a mere two percent of visa applications. Most recently, State Department claimed to have “cleared” 1,836 applicants for waivers as of September, but it remains unknown whether those individuals have actually been granted waivers. Many advocacy groups and members of Congress have requested updated numbers about waiver issuances, but the government has yet to fulfill those requests.
The impact of the ban has not been evaluated by Congress to this point - but that will change next week when oversight hearings will be held to evaluate the impact of the travel ban. One goal of the hearing, and those of us seeking to amplify the hearing, is to raise support for the No Muslim Ban Act, which was introduced in the spring by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE). As explained by the National Immigration Law Center, the bill would,
repeal all three iterations of Trump’s Muslim ban, his refugee/extreme-vetting-of-refugees ban, and his asylum ban. The inclusion of each type of ban is vital, since they are all based on the same discriminatory intent.
The refugee ban is just another iteration of the Muslim ban. It specifically targets the parts of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program that have accounted for 80 percent of all Muslim refugees resettled in the U.S. in the past two years. The asylum ban was issued based on the same INA authority as the Muslim ban, but targeting asylum-seekers at the southern U.S. border.
The bill would also strengthen anti-discrimination language in the Immigration and Naturalization Act to specifically protect religious affiliation.
You can read more on the bill from the National Immigration Law Center.
If you are in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia are, or can get here next week, The No Muslim Ban Campaign is organizing the following events on September 24. If you are not in the area, see below for further action ideas on social media, and you can always take the simple step of signing this petition to members of Congress.
We share this from No Muslim Ban organizer Subha Varadarajan:
On September 24, 2019, for the first time since the Muslim Ban was implemented, there will be an oversight hearing about the Muslim Ban before the House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship and the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight.
The hearing will be composed of two panels--a government and a non-governmental panel starting at 10 a.m.
To amplify the hearing, please help with the following:
* At 8:00 a.m. on 9/24, the No Muslim Ban Ever Campaign along with NIAC, Oxfam, CAIR National, ACLU, Justice for Muslims Collective, and CWS is hosting a community storytelling event in which affected communities will be sharing their stories. Since only two impacted individuals can testify at the hearing, it is critical to have this event. Please mobilize your members to come out for this event.
* At 10 a.m. on 9/24, the first panel of the oversight hearing will begin. Please help us pack the room with community members.
* While the hearing is taking place a contingent of folks will be delivering petitions to Congress members that have not signed onto the NO BAN Act. Please push for your members to come out and participate.
* At 6:30 p.m. Justice for Muslims Collective is leading a healing event so everyone can reflect on what they saw and heard at the hearing. Please encourage folks to attend this event.
* If you are interested in any of these events, please fill out this form and please circulate this facebook event page.
* By the end of this week, we will be sharing a social media toolkit which will include stories of impacted community members and messages to share. In addition to amplifying stories, it will consist of ways that you can be involved from home. Please help amplify these graphics and messages on 9/24.
* We will be live-streaming the community storytelling event at 8 am on 9/24, and we will share it once it is live. Please cross-post or share the live stream widely.
Thank you so much, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Subha Varadarajan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Some additional ideas for engagement from the Justice for Muslims Collective. If you are not in the DMV area, see point three below to help amplify the message on social media.
- Join JMC's contingent to the hearing. We will begin the day by listening to impacted community members and then sit through the hearing. Please plan on meeting us at 8am. Sign up here to let us know if you want to join us. This also includes a breakdown of the details, the location, and the schedule for the day.
- If you can't make the hearing, we will have a community reflection space after the hearing in the evening, which will be facilitated by our own Chaplain Yasmin Yonis. We will also have updates from the No Muslim Ban Campaign and next steps on getting the No Ban Act passed. Please note this is the first hearing that will be focused on the ban. Share the Facebook page and also RSVP if you are attending. We will have appetizers and drinks thanks to OxFam. Here is the general Facebook page from our coalition partners.
- If you can't make it out in person that day, follow our social media presence that day on Twitter, Facebook and also the hashtag, #RepealTheBan, #MuslimBanStories, #NoBanAct. We will be live-tweeting from the hearing.