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The Muslim Ban

discriminates against immigrants and travelers from countries where Islam is the dominant religion



Why It Matters

  • The anti-Muslim travel ban that’s in place now prevents thousands of people from being able to travel to the United States.

  • The Muslim ban imposes restrictions on those seeking to enter the United States from a group of mostly Muslim-majority countries.

  • The policy bars immigrants and travelers from getting a U.S. green card no matter what — even to be reunited with family or to take a job offer.

Related Players

Donald Trump

President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
Mike Pence

Vice President of the United States

Elected to Office: 11-8-2016
William Barr

U.S. Attorney General (DOJ)

Nominated by Trump: 1-3-2019
Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State

Nominated by Trump: 3-13-2018

How We Got Here & Where We're Headed

What to expect next: The expanded travel ban is set to go into effect on Feb. 22

  • 2-24-2020
    Public charge rule goes into effect nationwide

  • 1-31-2020
    Trump signs an executive order to expand the Muslim ban to people from six additional countries in Africa and Asia

  • 1-27-2020
    Supreme Court rules that the administration can use its new “public charge” standard while lawsuits against it go forward

  • 1-23-2020
    Trump-Pence administration lets the State Department deny temporary visas to women of reproductive age, primarily pregnant women of color

  • 9-1-2019
    Supreme Court temporarily permits third-country rule, which denies most asylum claims at the Southern border

  • 8-21-2019
    Trump administration announced a final family detention rule that would allow the administration to detain children indefinitely

  • 8-12-2019
    Trump administration issues final “public charge” rule designed to stop immigrants from accessing public benefits to which they are legally entitled

  • 7-16-2019
    Rule issued that makes immigrants ineligible for U.S. asylum if they passed through Mexico — denying asylum to nearly all South American immigrants

  • 5-10-2019
    Trump administration issues a proposed rule that would evict mixed-status families from public housing

View more +
  • 11-9-2018 
    Trump announces a policy to severely restrict asylum for immigrants

  • 10-10-2018
    Trump administration proposes a rule to keep immigrants with low incomes from entering the U.S. or changing their immigration status.

  • 9-7-2018
    Trump administration proposes family detention rule to let U.S. jail immigrant children indefinitely

  • 6-26-2018
    Supreme Court upholds third version of the travel ban, blocking most immigrants and many travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen

  • 6-11-2018
    Jeff Sessions says immigrants fleeing domestic violence don’t qualify for asylum

  • 4-6-2018
    U.S. sharply increases separation of immigrant families at the border

  • 3-27-2018
    Trump administration says it plans to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census; the addition is later blocked by the courts

  • 1-12-2018
    In a congressional DACA meeting, Trump said the U.S. should welcome immigrants from Norway (whose citizens are mostly white) instead of from "shithole countries" like Haiti, El Salvador and African countries

  • 1-9-2018
    Federal court rules against part of the Muslim ban that prevented immediate family of refugees from entering the U.S. — the action helps reunite refugee families

  • 12-4-2017
    Supreme Court grants the Trump administration’s request to allow “Muslim ban 3.0” to take full effect while litigation continues

  • 9-24-2017
    Trump signs third version of the Muslim ban, which blocks travel to the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim countries plus North Korea, as well as for certain Venezuelan government officials — protests and litigation ensue again

  • 3-6-2017
    Trump issues a second version of the anti-Muslim travel ban that exempts people from Iraq, but retains discriminatory policies — which sparks more protests and litigation

  • 1-27-2017
    Trump signs executive order banning entry to the U.S. for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries — triggering large protests in airports and several lawsuits against the administration




[My son] expected them to be here, all his brothers and sisters; he's depressed all the time… I need my wife and kids. We are in a bad situation.


The Muslim Ban’s Dramatic Impact

The anti-Muslim travel ban effectively closes U.S. borders to people from select countries because of their faith and race. The results are dramatic: Between 2017 and 2018, the number of permanent visas given to immigrants from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — all Muslim-majority countries — dropped by 72%.

The State Department says that the Muslim ban has kept 8,887 immediate family members — including parents, children, spouces and fiances — in banned countries from following their relatives who already resettled in the United States. Some groups say that the ban has left tens of thousands of American Muslims separated from family, and thousands more stand to be separated by the expanded ban.

Background on the Muslim Ban

Expanding the Muslim Ban

Until recently, the travel ban had restricted entry from seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. In January 2020, President Trump placed new immigration restrictions on six additional countries: Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Sudan, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar (known as Burma). 

How the Muslim Ban Works

The current policy allows some short-term travel to the United States from the banned countries. But applications for permanent emigration are still blocked for people from banned countries who have family in the United States and/or who qualify as being exceptionally talented, outstanding in their fields, highly trained professionals, entrepreneurs and skilled workers and who have vetted job offers in the United States.

The Hill
Trump’s Travel Ban and Other Anti-Immigrant Policies Target People with Low Incomes

This ban is also part of the Trump-Pence administration’s larger efforts to curtail immigration by people with lower incomes. For example, the new “public charge” rule would function like a wealth test, making it more difficult for immigrants with low incomes to enter or remain in the United States. 

Tracking Trump: Public Charge Rule
How Trump’s Anti-Muslim Travel Ban Hurts Planned Parenthood Patients

While Trump’s executive orders do not impact daily operations of Planned Parenthood health centers, these particularly impact Muslims in the United States and across the world. The Planned Parenthood community includes Muslim patients, supporters, volunteers, activists, clinicians, and staff. Planned Parenthood health centers provide care to everyone regardless of faith, country of origin, and immigrant or refugee status. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Global supports local partners in Latin America and Africa — including in Nigeria and Tanzania — to help women and families overcome poverty, conflict, violence, and other barriers to health care.

Planned Parenthood Global
Muslim Ban Was a Presidential Campaign Promise

Trump proposed a Muslim ban during his presidential campaign to woo anti-Muslim voters. In December 2015, then-candidate Trump issued a statement saying: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on… If I win the election for President, we are going to Make America Great Again.” During Trump’s presidency, when his administration changed its messaging from being directly anti-Muslim to giving lip service to national security, this statement was taken offline. 

Muslim Ban Is Forcing Families to Live Apart

Most immigration to the United States happens when a U.S. citizen or permanent resident petitions for a close relative to come to the United States to live. But now, immigrants from banned countries who resettled in the United States before the ban was imposed — some of whom have been waiting years for their family to join them — are being told their family member’s nationality bars them from uniting. 

Al Jazeera
Trump’s Travel Ban and Other Anti-Immigrant Policies Target People of Color

The Muslim ban isn’t just about targeting people of a particular religion. This ban is part of the Trump-Pence administration’s larger efforts to curtail immigration by nonwhite people. For example, Trump's latest travel ban discriminates against foreign people of color who are pregnant and want to travel to the United States on a short-term tourist visa. 

Al Jazeera

Related Policies


Detention of Pregnant Immigrants

Public Benefits for Immigrants

Pregnant Travelers

Legal Status for Dreamers

Immigrant Access to Abortion

Separating Immigrant Families