Muslim Ban / Registry

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Recent Updates

If your nationality is one of those affected by the ban, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, SIGN AN I-407, as this will invalidate your status in the United States. Seek guidance from an immigration lawyer before any travel plans.

To learn what your representatives have said about the order, click here.

  • 2/25/17: The Trump Administration has rejected the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence report that determined the seven countries part of the ban did not pose a security threat. The report was also criticized by Homeland Security spokesperson Gillian M. Christensen, who called it an “incomplete report” that did not consider all evidence available.[1]
  • 2/24/17: In response to the Administration's request that the Department of Homeland Security's report justify the ban, it disputed the fact that the citizens of these seven nations posed a threat to US security.[2]
  • 2/24/17: Contrary to Trump's tweet that 109 people were detained the weekend the order was signed, the Trump Administration released in Darweesh v. Trump a list of 746 individuals that were detained. Included on the list of individuals affected were legal permanent residents.[3]
  • 2/23/17: A Senior White House Official told CNN that the Trump Administration has enlisted the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice to file an intelligence report to justify the travel ban from the seven countries. This report is meant to legitimize the claim that these seven countries pose a security threat to the US. [4].
  • 2/16/17: The Department of Justice has announced the Trump Administration will issue a revised travel ban order [5]. Visa holders and LPRs from formerly affected countries should return to US ASAP.
  • 2/16/17: Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) (along with over two dozen co-sponsors) has introduced an updated version of legislation to ban profiling by all levels of law enforcement nationwide. The bill, the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act of 2017 (ERRPA), is a response to the executive order. Upon introducing the bill, Cardin said, “…religious, racial and other discriminatory profiling are not only counter to our core values, they also are ineffective.” The bill has been endorsed by over 150 civil rights organization, including the ACLU and NAACP. [6]

Updates on Lawsuits[edit]

Federal lawsuits can have national impacts.


  • 1/29/17: The Central District of California has ordered the United States to transport an individual who was deported from the United States back to the United States from Iran.[7]


  • 2/13/17: A federal judge in Virginia granted an injunction that blocked the enforcement of the executive order.[8]
  • 2/3/17: A lawyer for the Justice Department argued in a Virginia court that 100,000 visas were revoked during the first week of the ban. The State Department responded, claiming that approximately 60,000 visas were revoked.[9]
  • 1/29/17: Customs and Border Patrol agents at Washington Dulles Airport have refused to allow detainees to meet with volunteer attorneys, despite a federal judge's order to "permit lawyers access to all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport." Lawyers at Dulles are currently considering motions to hold the government in contempt and to compel disclosure of any individuals who are being detained. This could mean that President Trump, as head of the Executive Branch, could be held in contempt of court.[10]


  • 2/3/17: A federal judge in Boston did not renew a temporary restraining order that prohibited the detention or removal of travelers from one of the seven countries.[11]
  • 1/31/17: In response to the executive order, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration.[12].
  • 1/29/17: The ACLU of Massachusetts requested and was granted a temporary stay on the executive order regarding entry into the United States because permanent residents, visa holders, approved refugees, and other individuals from nations affected by the ban will suffer “irreparable harm.” Therefore, the detention of approved refugees, holders of both valid and nonvalid visas, lawful permanent US residents, and individuals from the seven countries must be legally authorized to enter the US. This order is effective for seven days.All procedures and laws prior to the executive order still apply.[13]

New York

  • 1/31/17: In response to the executive order, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration.[14]
  • 1/28/17: Judge Donnelly in the Eastern District of New York granted a stay delaying the deportation of the refugees who arrived at JFK today. The judge found the stay to be for a clearly defined group, so it will apply pending further court proceedings on the legality of the Executive Order. The stay, which is temporary, only covers those detained or in transit. It does not undo the ban. Judge Donnelly also ordered a list of detainees to be provided. Full text of the Order of the Stay can be found here.
  • 1/28/2017: The complaint filed by the ACLU in New York can be found here.


  • 2/9/17: The 9th Circuit issued an order denying the Trump administration's request to delay (also known as a legal "stay") the District Court's order (also known as a temporary restraining order) to stop the nationwide entry ban of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from taking effect. The temporary restraining order will remain in effect while the District Court in Washington conducts further hearings.
  • 2/3/17: A federal judge in Seattle has halted the ban nationwide.[15]
  • 1/29/17: In Seattle, the case Doe v. Trump bans the removal of two unnamed petitioners who were detained at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

How You Can Resist
How You Can Resist

  • Lawyers (any field) are needed at airports across the country to serve the detained. Sign up for the airport triage here.
  • Arabic-Speaking translators are needed at airports. Contact [email protected] with your language skills if you are willing to translate at Dulles, JFK, and Newark.
  • Use Crisis Resources to find phone numbers if you or a loved one is detained.
  • Call your Senator and US Representative by dialing tel:844-6-RESIST and tell them to support legislation overturning the Muslim ban.
  • Find out when your Senators and US Representative are holding town halls and other Upcoming Events/Opportunities.
  • Find a protest near you in Upcoming Events/Opportunities.
  • Get involved with People and Organizations that are working to protect people's rights.
  • Call your state representatives and ask them to support the State-Level Resistance Agenda.
  • Technologists can join an organization or work on an open-source project to drive social progress. Tech Forward has a compilation of options.
  • Go to Tools of Resistance to find ways to advocate and, for lawyers, to learn how to file a habeas petition.

Actions Taken by the Federal Government
Actions Taken by the Federal Government

Legislative Actions[edit]

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice

  • S248 would block implementation of an executive order that restricts individuals from certain countries from entering the US.
    link= S248

  • Protect American Family Act (S54) would prohibit the creation of a registry program that classifies people on the basis of religion, race, age, gender, ethnicity, national origin, nationality, or citizenship.

  • HR 1006 guarantees legal counsel to individuals detained while trying to enter the US. The bill would require Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to provide access to counsel to non-citizens, who currently do not have a right to be represented by an attorney unless the target of a criminal investigation.[16]

  • S 274 repeals Trump's Muslim ban executive order.

Harmful Legislation
No harmful legislation has been introduced at this time.

See also the State and Local Pages for state-by-state legislative tracking.

Executive / Administrative Actions[edit]

  • 1/28/2017: The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive ordering Customs and Border Protection to enforce the ban on all “immigrant and nonimmigrant” entry of individuals from Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
  • 1/27/2017: Trump signs Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, which:
    • Blocks refugee admissions from Syria indefinitely.
    • Suspends refugee admissions from all countries for 120 days. After that period, the US will only accept refugees from countries jointly approved by the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Director of National Intelligence.
    • Caps total refugee admissions for fiscal year 2017 at 50,000―less than half of the 110,000 proposed by the Obama administration.
    • Ban for 90 days all “immigrant and nonimmigrant” entry of individuals from Muslim-majority countries including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
    • Suspends visa issuance to countries of “particular concern.” After 60 days, DHS, the State Department and DNI are instructed to draft a list of countries that don’t comply with requests for information. Foreign nationals from those countries would be banned from entering the US.
    • Establishes “safe zones to protect vulnerable Syrian populations.” The executive order tasks the secretary of defense with drafting a plan for safe zones in Syria within 90 days. This would be be an escalation of US involvement in Syria and could be the first official indication of how Trump will approach the conflict there.
    • Expedites the completion of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all visitors to the US and requires in-person interviews for all individuals seeking a nonimmigrant visa.
    • Suspends the visa interview waiver program indefinitely and reviews whether existing reciprocity agreements are reciprocal in practice.
    • Collects and makes publicly available information regarding the number of foreign-born individuals in the United States "who have been radicalized after entry into the United States and engaged in terrorism-related acts.”
    • Collects information about “gender-based violence against women or honor killings” by foreign-born individuals in the US.

Projected Impact
Projected Impact

Country-by-Country Breakdown[edit]

Trump's executive order bans immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. It is estimated that 90,000 people will be impacted by this part of the ban (about 97%, or 87,000, of whom are Muslim),[17] based on the number of visa holders from these countries. These people will not be able to travel to the United States for at least 90 days or, if they are in the United States currently, will not be able to leave and return before the ban ends. The breakdown by country is:

  • Iran: 35,363 nonimmigrant visas; 7,179 immigrant visas
  • Iraq: 13,499 nonimmigrant visas; 2,010 immigrant visas
  • Syria: 10,061 nonimmigrant visas; 1,901 immigrant visas
  • Sudan: 5,080 nonimmigrant visas; 1,642 immigrant visas
  • Yemen: 4,525 nonimmigrant visas; 3,143 immigrant visas
  • Libya: 3,303 nonimmigrant visas; 272 immigrant visas
  • Somalia: 331 nonimmigrant visas; 1,078 immigrant visas

Trump's executive order set a cap on refugee admissions that will admit 60,000 fewer refugees than Obama proposed, and banned Syrian refugee admissions indefinitely. Last year, the US granted nearly 12,600 Syrians refugee status. 99% of these refugees were Muslim.[18]

Impact on Travel Industry[edit]

A study of approximately 300 million online air travel searches concluded that flight searches from international sources to the US dropped 17% since Trump signed the executive order on January 27. Business travel bookings within the US dropped 3.4% in the week after the travel ban was enforced.[19]

Impact of Muslim Surveillance[edit]

Trump has also proposed to subject Muslims, particularly young men, to increased surveillance and harassment from law enforcement. This would further erode trust between Muslim communities and federal and local authorities (assuming they partner to implement the surveillance programs), which would make it less likely for communities to report information that could lead to preventing crime or terrorism. Trump's proposals to register Muslims echo the initial efforts undertaken in Nazi Germany to register Jews, which laid the infrastructure for further repression and, eventually, genocide. In addition to this, veterans in the intelligence community have voiced that this measure could hurt US intelligence agencies, as they will have a hard time recruiting intelligence operatives from these regions.[20]

The ACLU has released a report condemning the TSA’s screening methods. TSA uses a process called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques) that has been criticized for racial and religious profiling [21] To report and track cases of TSA misconduct, click here.

Impact on Refugees[edit]

The category of "refugee" is distinct from "immigrant," in that refugees are fleeing their home country due to war, persecution, famine or natural disaster. While some refugees choose to remain close to their homes in hopes of returning when possible, other refugees seek permanent resettlement in countries outside their home country.

Trump’s executive order on immigration halts the US refugee resettlement program for 90 days and bans the resettlement of Syrian refugee indefinitely [22]. Refugees are predominately woman and children, and some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. Depending on their situation of displacement, families may live for years outside their country of origin in makeshift camps. Not all refugees seek resettlement in the US, but those who do face extensive background checks and interviews prior to being relocated, a process that on average takes two years [23].

The Trump administration has used the need for increased “vetting” of refugees as justification for halting the resettlement program without regards for how extensive, thorough, and time-consuming the existing vetting process is. Halting resettlement even for 90 days is a huge setback for refugees around the world who are seeking permanent refuge in the US. It is particularly troubling in the case of Syrian refugees, as massive displacement of Syrians as a result of the ongoing civil war is the largest humanitarian crisis of the decade. One long-term response to this humanitarian crisis is resettlement, and the US’s role in resettling refugees has only just begun to ramp up. Halting the program now would have devastating effects not only on those seeking resettlement but also on countries bordering Syria that are now bearing the brunt of the crisis [24].

It has been a strategy of the Islamic State in recent years to disrupt Western acceptance of refugees, particularly from Iraq and Syria. Trump’s executive order may have the added effect of being countereffective on our war with ISIS.[25]

Trump / GOP Strategy
Trump / GOP Strategy

Trump's administration has proposed and begun to implement executive actions that target, ban, register, and surveil Muslims.

Muslim Ban
On January 27, Trump signed an executive order reflecting his proposal to enact a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States.[26] The order indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, refugees or otherwise, from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.[27] According to Trump's adviser Rudy Guiliani, Trump focused the ban on "regions with links to terrorism" as a way to ban Muslims "legally."[28] Soon after signing the ban, Trump announced that Christian refugees from Syria would be prioritized for entry into the US.[29]

Muslim Registry
Trump has also proposed to create a registry of Muslims in the United States, which has been interpreted to mean reviving the NSEERS program,[30] which targeted people from 25 countries that were considered at "higher risk" of extremist activity.[31] The program interrogated young men over the age of 16 and asked for Muslims to come forward and identify themselves and provide fingerprints and personal information. It was found to unfairly target Muslims and did not lead to increased security.[32] It is not clear whether Trump's proposal to register Muslims would be limited to noncitizens or whether it would extend to the broader citizen Muslim population within the United States.

Surveillance of Muslims
Trump also has proposed to conduct surveillance operations on mosques in the United States, potentially in partnership with local law enforcement agencies.[33]

Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy
Vulnerabilities in Their Strategy

These measures can be enacted through executive/administrative action, without needing Congress to pass new legislation. However, it would take some time to reestablish the NSEERS program, because the Obama administration dismantled the rules and regulations necessary for the functioning of the dormant program in December 2016.[34] New rules and regulations can be established by the executive branch via the rule-making process after undergoing a notice and comment period, without any oversight from another branch of government. It is unclear whether such a program would be found unconstitutional if challenged.[35]

Further, the Trump administration has used national security threats as justification for the ban. Yet a report from the Cato Institute in September 2016 that specifically analyzed the impact of immigration of terrorism in the US concluded that “the hazards posed by foreign-born terrorists are not large enough to warrant extreme actions like a moratorium on all immigration or tourism.”[36]

Opponents from Within[edit]

Mitch McConnell[edit]

Indicative of a split between the executive and legislative branches, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) distanced himself from the ban. He said Americans “need to avoid … interfering with the kind of travel or suggesting some kind of religious test.” McConnell also disapproved of Trump’s condemnation of Seattle Judge James Robart after he halted the executive order.[37]

H.R. McMaster[edit]

Breaking with the rhetoric of Trump, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster declared in a National Security Council meeting that the label “radical Islamic terrorism” was not helpful because terrorists are “un-Islamic” and perverting Islam. His approach signals a potentially more moderate tone towards the Muslim world compared to the rest of the Trump Administration staff, especially McMaster’s predecessor, the resigned Michael Flynn. [38]

Public Opinion[edit]

Public opinion is overwhelmingly against a Muslim ban, making it more politically costly for Trump to pursue this policy. 74 percent of registered voters oppose a “ban on all Muslims from entering the US.”[39] A slim majority—56%—opposes a "temporary" ban on Muslim immigration.[40]

Throughout the weekend of January 28, there were 83 protests recorded in 45 states.[41]

Conflicts of Interest[edit]

Trump has business ties in most of the Muslim-majority countries excluded from his executive order, including Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Azerbaijan.[42] While Trump has used the 9/11 attacks to justify his ban, none of the hijackers was from the countries targeted by his executive order, and no terror attacks have been committed in the US by nationals of these countries.[43]

Existing Laws[edit]

The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, aka the Hart-Celler Act banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.

The Hart-Celler Act abolished the national origins quota system that had structured American immigration policy since the 1920s, replacing it with a preference system that focused on immigrants' skills and family relationships with citizens or residents of the U.S. Numerical restrictions on visas were set at 170,000 per year, not including immediate relatives of US citizens, nor "special immigrants" (including those born in "independent" nations in the Western hemisphere; former citizens; ministers; employees of the U.S. government abroad).[44]

8 U.S. Code § 1152 states that no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”[45]

Past Updates
Past Updates

  • 2/15/17: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, becoming the first state to support Trump’s travel ban. According to Paxton, “The president has discretion to protect the safety of the American people and our nation’s institutions with respect to who can come into this country.” [46]
  • 2/13/17: Justice Department lawyers will not seek a Supreme Court review of Judge Rapart's temporary restraining order; however, they reserve the right to do so in the future.[47]
  • 2/6/17: 97 companies have filed an amicus brief condemning the order, emphasizing the importance of immigrants and their economic contributions to society.[48]
  • 2/5/17: In response to Justice Department lawyers, a federal appeals court denied a request to enforce the executive order again.[49]
  • 2/4/17: The Department of Justice has appealed the travel ban ruling that stopped the enforcement of the executive order.[50]
  • 2/4/17: Homeland Security has suspended all actions to enforce the immigration order.[51]
  • 2/4/17: The State Department is reinstating canceled visas after a federal judge issued a hold on Trump's travel ban.[52]
  • 2/3/17: Airlines are allowing individuals previously restricted by the ban to board planes and travel to the United States.[53].
  • 2/3/17: The White House has responded to the Seattle judge's order, declaring that the Department of Justice will file an emergency stay to defend the executive order.[54]
  • 2/3/17: A federal judge issues a nationwide stay on the immigration executive order.
  • 2/3/17: More than 3,000 scholars from around the world have called for a boycott of academic conferences held in the United States in solidarity with those affected by the ban.[55]
  • 1/31/17: Approximately 900 State Department employees have signed a dissenting memo critical of the travel ban.[56]
  • 1/31/17: Both Amazon and Expedia have condemned the ban, saying that it will affect current and potential employees and restrain normal business operations.[57]
  • 1/30/17: Attorney General Sally Yates (from the Obama Administration) ordered the Justice Department not to defend the order, stating that she is not "convinced that the executive order is lawful.” She subsequently was fired.[58]
  • 1/29/17: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was told by Trump advisers that British citizens holding dual nationality from one of the seven countries will be exempt from the ban and allowed to enter the US.[59]
  • 1/29/17: The Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement confirming that green card holders are not exempt from the order but will instead be admitted on a case-by-case basis.[60]
  • 1/29/17: John F. Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, eased a key part of President Trump’s immigration order on Sunday, saying that people from the affected countries who hold green cards will not be prevented from returning to the United States.[61]
  • 1/29/17: 15 of the 292 Republicans in Congress have come out in opposition to Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.[62]
  • 1/29/17: Starbucks has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in 75 countries over a five-year period.[63]
  • 1/28/17: More than 2,000 religious leaders have written a letter to Trump and Congress supporting refugee settlement.[64]