July 18, 2017
Issue: Muslim Ban
New York Times Op Ed: “How Trump Is Stealthily Carrying Out His Muslim Ban”
Washington, DC – In a new op-ed for the New York Times, Farhana Khera and Johnathan Smith detail the administration’s attempts to covertly circumvent the courts and public opinion to institute President Trump’s long promised Muslim ban:
“It’s doing so through deceptively boring means: increasing administrative hurdles and cementing or even expanding the current travel restrictions that are not under review at the court. The collective impact of these changes will be that a permanent Muslim ban is enshrined into American immigration policy.
While these short-term travel restrictions will be at the heart of what the Supreme Court considers this fall, they have never been the president’s ultimate objective. Instead, his endgame, as he repeatedly made clear on the campaign trail, is the “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” And in a quiet, under-the-radar manner, his administration has been hard at work to make that happen.”
As Khera and Smith explain, the administration is attempting to institute a permanent Muslim ban through multiple, backdoor channels, including:
- “Extreme vetting” procedures that force applicants to submit years’ worth of personal data;
- A worldwide review, conducted by the Departments of State and Homeland Security, of country’s visa screening processes that will be “used to figure out whether or not the short-term travel ban should be extended indefinitely and whether countries should be added to or removed from the list of excluded nations. This creates an easy way to target disfavored countries”; and
- A walk back of a “commitment to speed up the time it takes to get a visa”
As Khera and Smith conclude:
“The Twitterverse and cable news pundits are unlikely to be mobilized by policy changes that come about through these types of bureaucratic processes. Most people are not closely following the intricacies of visa vetting and screening.
That’s a shame because there is already evidence that they are working. The number of visas issued to citizens from Muslim-majority countries has decreased by double digits. Among nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries, nonimmigrant visas declined almost 20 percent in April, compared with the monthly average from 2016. Visas issued to people from Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, the six countries on the travel ban list, were down 55 percent. Those figures will continue to get worse if these other provisions are implemented.
Finally, consider an embarrassing incident. An Afghan girls’ robotics team was initially denied entry into the United States to participate in a science competition. It was only after public outcry and an intervention by President Trump that they were granted passage. Situations like that are also likely to have a chilling effect on people from Muslim-majority countries, resulting in further decreases.
A Muslim ban, even when implemented through seemingly mundane bureaucratic processes, simply has no place in our country.”
The entire piece, titled “How Trump Is Stealthily Carrying Out His Muslim Ban” is available online here.
Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.