Fact Sheet: Harms of New Muslim Ban Executive Order


Date published: Tue, 7 March 17

Prepared by Naureen Shah from Amnesty International USA

Today, President Trump signed a new executive order banning people from six countries and suspending the refugee admissions program. The Trump administration may characterize the new order as scaled back and careful. 

In fact, the new order is inhumane, irrational and will not make the U.S. safer. It will cause harm to universities, businesses and U.S. global standing.

Here are critical points that the public should understand:

  1. This order is intended to have the same effect as the first. In late February, senior White House Policy Advisor Stephen Miller promised it would “have the same basic policy outcome” as the first Order.[1] President Trump campaigned on a promise to ban Muslims from entering the country for an entire year.[2] This replacement order represents a decision to double-down on this policy, which is a brainchild of an extreme and anti-Muslim fringe that is dominating the White House agenda.
  2. The order will likely harm universities in your state. The Association of International Educators estimates that international students contributed $32.8 billion to the U.S. economy in the last academic year; you can look up the exact impact on your state.[3] By directly restricting participation in the U.S. education system, and by creating fear and uncertainty for potential students, this Order directly harms your state’s economy and capacity for academic growth.
  3. By causing confusion about who is allowed into the U.S., this executive order could also have an impact on local tourism and business. People who are afraid they may be “banned” while on vacation are unlikely to visit your state or any other state, damaging the tourism industry and preventing contributions to local business. Further, immigrant and refugee families potentially affected by the Order are ordinary working families that contribute to the economy – they spend locally, support local businesses and pay taxes; you can see the specific economic impact of immigration on your state’s economy.[4]
  4. This order will still harm Iraqis fleeing harm, including those who worked alongside U.S. forces. Although the new order removes Iraq from the list of countries subject to a 90-day travel ban, Iraqis who have applied for refugee status will be barred from coming to the U.S. because they fall under the 120-day suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. This includes many Iraqis who worked with the U.S. military on the ground in Iraq. (Those who hold Special Immigrant visas may be exempt from the ban, but that program is not the primary method of providing protection to Iraqi allies).[5]
  5. We all want safety from terrorism, but this ban won’t make us any safer. Instead of border agents throwing grandmothers and toddlers into airport interrogation rooms, they should be focused on real threats. This is irrational, a waste of resources and a distraction from real solutions. An amicus brief by several national security leaders from both political parties said of the President’s prior Order: “We view the Order as one that ultimately undermines the national security of the United States, rather than making us safer. In our professional opinion, this Order cannot be justified on national security or foreign policy grounds. It does not perform its declared task of ‘protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.’”[6]
  6. The executive order could embolden people to commit acts of violence and harassment. Recent reports of harassment, discrimination and violence perpetrated against ordinary American Muslims underscore the volatile climate in the country;look up information about reports of attacks in your state.[7] By putting bigotry into federal policy, this executive order may embolden hate-based attacks. Instead of increasing public safety, it may put ordinary people—including people who are perceived to be or are immigrants—at risk of violence or harassment.
  7. Moreover, this executive order is based on false premises about the insecurity of the refugee system. The U.S handpicks refugees to enter the U.S. They undergo 18-24 months of vetting by multiple law enforcement and intelligence agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and National Counterterrorism Center. If the U.S. government does not know who a refugee is, he or she is not admitted. It’s as simple as that.

[2] “Donald J. Trump Statement on Preventing Muslim Immigration,” https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-statement-on-preventing-muslim-immigration.
[4] “State by State,” American Immigration Council, https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/topics/state-by-state 
[5] See Human Rights First, “Rumored Revisions to Executive Order Not Enough to Protect Iraqi Allies,” March, 2, 2017,http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/blog/rumored-revisions-executive-order-not-enough-protect-iraqi-allies.
[6] Brief for Madeleine K. Albright, Avril D. Haines, Michael V. Hayden, John F. Kerry, John E. McLaughlin, Lisa O. Monaco, Michael J. Morell, Janet A. Napolitano, Leon E. Panetta, Susan E. Rice as Amicus Curiae, p. 2., Washington v. Trump No. 2:17-cv-00141 (W.D.Wash. 2017), available online athttps://www.justsecurity.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2017-2-5-Declaration-of-National-Security-Officials-FNL-TEXT-PDF.pdf.

[7] “Map: Recent Incidents of Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes,” Muslim Advocates, https://www.muslimadvocates.org/map-anti-muslim-hate-crimes/.