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Executive Order on ‘Muslim Ban’ – What Do We Know


President Donald Trump is preparing to issue an executive order dramatically restricting refugee admissions to the U.S. and denying visas to individuals from countries his administration deems high-risk, according to congressional and advocacy organization sources briefed on a draft.

The executive order could still change before Trump signs it, which could happen this week. According to sources, administration officials are considering:

  • Blocking refugees from war-torn Syria from entering the U.S. indefinitely.
  • Suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days while the administration determines which countries pose the least risk.
  • Temporarily suspending visa issuances to people in countries where the administration considers security screening inadequate ― meaning people from those countries couldn’t enter the U.S. at all.
  • Capping total refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 at 50,000 ― less than half of the 110,000 proposed by the Obama administration.

Sources briefed on the draft executive order said the list of countries targeted is not yet finalized, but those under consideration ― Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen ― are all Muslim-majority nations. Trump vowed last year to suspend immigration from “terror-prone regions” as one of his first moves. From Huffington Post

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Update – here is the draft copy of the executive order on refugees and immigrants.


By Hassan Ahmed

More information will come tomorrow once Trump’s executive order is released. From there, immigration experts around the country will dissect it and be able to tell much more about who it will affect and how.

Buzzfeed reports that a career government official noted that the EO is expected to “institute a blanket suspension of visas issued to certain countries with majority Muslim populations, temporarily suspend the refugee resettlement program, and institute what Trump has called “extreme vetting,” or as one person called it, “a Sharia litmus test.”

Reuters reported “limited immigration for refugees “and some visa holders from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.””

CNN reports that this is only part 1 of a multi-day immigration executive order rollout. The Post reports the impending order may also include toughening of enforcement along the Mexican border.

So: decreased refugee admissions, blanket visa suspension from certain countries, extreme vetting, enhanced enforcement. Just like in the commercials.

FIRST: Be aware of the contours of each proposal-order. Muslim ban, extreme vetting, halting/reducing refugee resettlement are all distinct concepts.

SECOND: Remember that any “list of countries” can be added to, and subtracted from. This has Kobach written all over it.

THIRD: These things have been done before. This is not unprecedented. George Bush halted all refugee admissions after 9/11. Jimmy Carter banned all Iranian immigration after the hostage crisis [Editor’s note: here is more analysis on the differences between Trump’s policies and Carter’s] . Moreover, people from these countries are already rarely granted visas: I hear their stories almost every day. I don’t mean to minimize the monstrosity, only to contextualize. If you go further back into history, you’ll find blatantly racist policies that consistently withstood constitutional scrutiny. The point is: exclusion of certain groups is nothing new.

FOURTH: Lawsuits are a necessary part of any broad resistance strategy, but know that we are up against a stalwart doctrine: plenary power. Courts are extremely reluctant to tell Congress (or the Executive Branch) who they can or cannot let into the country. However, it is not absolutely hands-off; cases such as Zadvydas v. Davis show that there is some extremely limited judicial review. This must be (long-term) amplified across the circuits to expand judicial power, and do away with the plenary power doctrine over immigration (as argued by Prof. Motomura back in 1990). There is virtually NO CHECK on executive power when it comes to immigration. Do you want to see where legalized bigotry begins? In immigration. Because no one is there to stop it.

It may not be the right time to sue broadly – the plenary power is vast, and deeply embedded in our law. The proposed orders are a tame exercise of executive power. I say we wait until they cross a line – any line.

FIFTH: That leaves attacking the SOURCE of these policies, which smells like white nationalism. The administration’s cozy relationship with groups like Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) [Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the anti-immigrant hate group, FAIR, has been named chief of staff at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Since its founding in 1979, FAIR has push an agenda centered on a complete moratorium on all immigration to the United States and defined by vicious attacks on non-white immigrants. Its founder was white nationalist John Tanton, an avowed eugenicist who created the modern anti-immigrant movement in the United States.] which were founded and grew up in white nationalism gives ample anecdotal evidence. This investigation into white nationalism must happen before it becomes accepted as the status quo. We need to haul these advisors in to testify before Congress, make them show their foul ideology: no more secrets. We need to make it politically expensive for anyone to be seen within 100 yards of them. It is no coincidence that FAIR tried to seal boxes of their founder Dr. Tanton’s papers until 2035.

You know that old repeated line about first they came for the Muslims? This is the beginning of it. I’m calling out to my black brothers and sisters. I’m calling out to my Latino brothers and sisters. I’m calling out to allies across the board who don’t believe in the genetic superiority of one race. This is a different flavor ice cream, but it comes out of the same box.

SIXTH: Since the Women’s March, the administration has attacked science, facts, and the right to clean water. Now this. There is a drastic need to take this to the streets. The administration is obviously trying to stack the three branches of government in its favor: 114 federal judicial vacancies (including one on SCOTUS), and they already control the legislative and executive. We are witnessing the birth of policies that will outlast Trump. Demonstrations do matter, and they do change the course. We might not get good policies – but we can make sure to slow down the creation of bad ones.

SEVENTH: If you are an immigrant, and are already here, it remains to be seen how these policies will affect you. You must use the existing law (and what remains of it) to the maximum possible extent. I met today with someone who now has an issue with their green card application who could have filed for TPS but didn’t. Last week a Yemeni whom I had to beg to do the same thing. Others who never bothered to “extremely vet” themselves before filing for a green card or citizenship. Others who figure it’s easier to disappear into the undocumented population. The importance of correct, sound, and targeted advice has never been more important. This visa revocation and charge under INA 212(a)(7)(A)(1) is nothing new…just happening ramped up. The right advice for people is to seek counsel. Every case is different. A 589 may be the right choice…but not for everyone. If already in the US a person might be eligible file an extension of B-2 status or change of status to F-1, E-2, or may qualify for an L-1A.

The best advice is to be prepared before you travel. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because your visa always worked before.

On a more personal note: My mind is racing back to my hundreds of Muslim clients from these countries. I’ve played with their children and eaten shwarma and drank chai with them. Misery-laughed with them over heightened scrutiny, Muslim Processing Time, and debating whether advising to shave the beard would be legal advice or not.

It’s on.

Hassan is the founder and principal of the HMA Law Firm.  Licensed to practice in Maryland and Virginia, fluent or proficient in eight languages besides English, known and respected among his peers for his knowledge of the law, research and writing ability, trial skills, and having earned a reputation among his peers as the “go-to” attorney in matters of immigration law, Hassan is an aggressive, dynamic and knowledgeable lawyer who passionately believes in fighting for his clients.

Update From CUNY CLEAR:

“Protecting ourselves and our communities is the first step towards organizing against Trump’s Muslim ban.

“If you hold a passport from the following countries and you are not a U.S. citizen, please feel free to contact CUNY CLEAR for free legal advice:


“Early reports today indicate that Trump might order a ban on travel and/or immigration from those countries. The specifics are not yet known.

“Additionally, if your mosque or community organization would like to organize a Know Your Rights workshop, CLEAR offers workshops on 4 main topic areas: how to exercise your rights in the face of police or FBI questioning, what your rights are at the airport and while traveling, how to give to charities without running afoul of complex federal laws, and what to do if you have concerns about informants in your community. We can provide literature or trainings in many languages, including Arabic, Bangla, English, French, Spanish, and Urdu.

“You can contact CLEAR at or (718) 340-4558.”

From Abed Ayoub, Legal/Policy Director at American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC):

“How the Executive Order will affect travel/immigration/refugees.

“1. The Executive Order signed by Donald Trump will list 6 (predominantly Muslim) countries where travel/immigration to the US will be banned. There will be an option to add more at a later date. Similar to NSEERS. These countries are: Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran
2. It is advised that students from the listed countries not leave the US. They won’t be permitted back in. Do not overstay your visa – if you have to leave, please do so. If you are uncertain please seek the advice of an immigration attorney.
3. We do not know what happens to visa holders from those countries who are currently in the US.
4. People from listed countries who have visas, but haven’t travelled to the US, won’t be allowed in. Their visa is void.
5. The ban will extend to spouses of US citizens who are from one of the listed countries, and have pending applications to US.
6. The EO will call for what’s known as a “values test.” This is an ideology test. Will ask applicants about religious beliefs.
7. Some questions on value test:
– Do you support Sharia law
– Have you believe in beheadings
– What is view on homosexuality
8. The EO coming before the ban will focus on the wall, and increasing deportations.

The ADC Legal Department offers pro bono legal services,

Ask Your Representative to Oppose Trump’s Muslim-Targeted Immigration Ban

Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Tell them your senator’s or representative’s name, and they will connect you to their office. (Don’t know who represents you? Look it up here.)

When someone from the office answers, tell them that it is unethical and un-humanitarian for President Trump to legally limit immigrants and refugees due to their religious beliefs. Remember that though Congressmen can’t directly stop Trump from signing executive orders, they can do so indirectly through public pressure. You may also ask your senator to stall presidential appointments as a pressure tactic.

If you’re unsure of what to say, here is a sample script:

Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a constituent of Representative _______/ Senator _________. I’m calling because I’m concerned about President Donald Trump signing an executive order restricting immigration from Muslim majority countries and ending the Syrian refugee resettlement program. This executive order goes against our shared American values of religious tolerance, diversity, and nondiscrimination.

I’m calling to see if Rep. _________ / Senator ___________ plans to publicly oppose Trump’s decision to sign this executive order?

[If there are any questions, reiterate your concerns.] Yes, please express to Rep. ______/ Sen. ________ that Trump’s executive order doesn’t represent our values, and that I am asking him/her to take a principled, public stand against this kind of intolerance.

Thanks for your time.

Tips to remember:

  • It is important to let your congressperson’s office know why you’re calling and what issue you’re calling about. The congressperson (or his staff) keeps track of how many people called and their positions on issues. If the congressperson is not currently available, a summary is provided to the him/her by their staff. Even if you are not able to speak directly to your senator or representative, your call literally counts.  
  • The congressperson’s office may ask for your zip code/area code, especially if it’s a senator’s office.

What does Trump’s Executive Order potentially entail?

  • He plans to restrict immigration from Muslim countries. Currently, the expected countries are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This applies to current Visa holders from these countries as well! Visa holders will have their access to the USA barred or restricted if the EO is signed.
  • He also plans on restricting or scrapping the Syrian Refugee Resettlement program. This move is directly Islamophobic as there are discussions as to whether religious minorities can still resettle (i.e., targeting only Syrian refugees who are also Muslim).
  • Read more here.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.



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  3. Sara Krohn

    January 29, 2017 at 3:31 PM

    do you know who the authors are of this google doc, or are they vetted? “US Senators on Muslim Ban” They used this URL

  4. Tracey Suits

    January 29, 2017 at 6:54 PM

    Also wondering about the author of the spreadsheet referenced above. Would like to share, but will not do so without knowing the source is credible.

  5. Cherokee Freedem

    February 26, 2017 at 4:06 PM

    It appears those who opposes Trump Immigration Vetting Process are same people who supported the Genocide of Yazidi. These Anti-Trump people are the most Anti-Humanity Souls I have ever seen. As a Native American who had been persecuted by these same Muslim People will stand against Hassan Ahmed and his Evil Empire.

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