What is the ‘Muslim Ban’?


With just a few quick strokes of the pen, President Donald Trump banned more than 134 million people from entering the United States. (CNN)

What countries are impacted by the ban?

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.


Discussion Ideas




  • Does this mean diplomats from these countries will no longer be able to work in the U.S.? Are embassies being forced to close?


  • Are naturalized citizens from the listed areas impacted?
    • No. All U.S. citizens, either natural-born or naturalized, are not affected by the order.


  • What about people with dual citizenships?
    • U.S. citizens who hold dual citizenships with any other country are not affected.
    • Citizens who hold dual citizenship with a listed country and another are affected. For instance, Olympic medalist Mo Farah has expressed concern about returning from training in Ethiopia to his home in Oregon. Farah was born in Somalia, grew up in Britain, and holds dual citizenship.



  • How was the order being enforced before the stay?
    • Visas were denied.
    • Travelers were being detained and deported at airports. The New York Times describes “an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the United States Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio” all denied entry to the U.S.
    • Although not part of the official order, the president pledged to prioritize Christians and other minorities from the listed countries over Muslims.
    • A lawsuit, seeking class-action status for all refugees, has already been filed on behalf of two Iraqi refugees detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Both refugees worked for the U.S. government in Iraq.


  • What impact does the order have on refugees from war-torn Syria and elsewhere?
    • The entire U.S. refugee program, with applicants from any country, has been suspended for 120 days. Syrian refugees, though, have been banned from entering the country indefinitely.
    • The number of refugees the U.S. will accept has been slashed from no more than 110,000 per year to no more than 50,000 per year.



  • What Muslim-majority nations are not impacted by the order?
    • Afghanistan
    • Algeria
    • Azerbaijan
    • Bahrain
    • Bangladesh
    • Bosnia-Herzogovina
    • Brunei
    • Burkina Faso
    • Chad
    • Comoros
    • Djbouti
    • Egypt
    • Gambia
    • Guinea
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Indonesia
    • Jordan
    • Lebanon
    • Kazakhstan
    • Kosovo
    • Kuwait
    • Kyrgyzstan
    • Maldives
    • Malaysia
    • Mali
    • Mauritania
    • Morocco
    • Niger
    • Oman
    • Pakistan
    • Palestinian Territories
    • Qatar
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Senegal
    • Sierra Leone
    • Tajikistan
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey
    • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
    • Uzbekistan


  • So, many nations have a clear majority Muslim population. Why were the seven listed countries selected?
    • The nations were not chosen at random. In 2016, they had been labeled “countries of concern.” In other words, the administration of President Obama restricted immigration—although never banned it—from the same places. In fact, five of the seven nations (Libya, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Yemen) were bombed by the U.S. under Obama, and the remaining two (Iran, Sudan) endured severe sanctions.
    • Broadly, the executive order is associated with the ongoing War on Terror. It is officially called “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”
      • The order acknowledges “deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the United States.”
      • During his presidential campaign, Trump specifically called for a ban on Syrian immigrants, calling their entry a “Trojan Horse” for terrorists to enter the U.S.
      • One report noted “Foreigners from those seven nations have killed zero Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1975 and the end of 2015.”
    • In addition to a presumed terrorist threat, the order maintains that the U.S. should not “admit those who do not support the Constitution, or would place violent ideologies over American law … [or] engage in bigotry and acts of hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own), or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”


  • The order mentions the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, three times, specifically citing the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were “foreign nationals who entered the United States after receiving visitor, student, or employment visas, or who entered through the United States refugee settlement program.” Would this executive order have stopped the 9/11 terrorists from entering the country?
    • No. None of the 9/11 terrorists were from the listed countries.
      • The 9/11 hijackers successfully applied for entry to the U.S. as citizens of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon.
      • Leaders of the larger terrorist movement associated with 9/11 (Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Yousef, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) were citizens of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Pakistan.
    • The other most deadly attacks in the United States would also not be impacted by the order:
      • The Oklahoma City bombing (1996) was carried out by U.S. citizens.
      • The Orlando nightclub shooting (2016) was carried out by a U.S. citizen.
      • The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012) was carried out by a U.S. citizen.
      • The San Bernardino shootings (2015) were carried out by a Saudi immigrant and a U.S. citizen.


  • The order is easily the most controversial policy of Trump’s young presidency. Who supports the order? Who opposes it?


  • Is there a precedent for delaying or preventing immigration to the U.S. from war-torn regions?



CNN: Trump’s latest executive order: Banning people from 7 countries and more

The Atlantic: What Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration Does—and Doesn’t Do

Nat Geo: What countries are impacted by the “Muslim Ban”? map

Los Angeles Times: Pro­tect­ing the Na­tion From For­eign Ter­ror­ist Entry In­to The United States

Cato Institute: Little National Security Benefit to Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration

Guardian: Donald Trump anti-refugee order

Human Rights Watch: World Report 2016

8 thoughts on “What is the ‘Muslim Ban’?

  1. But people coming into one of those 7 countries come here, so we’re stopping them from coming here.No offense to your friends or their friends.

  2. I’m an American Christian woman who is very unhappy about the Muslim ban. Most of my friends are Muslim. I’ve lived in and traveled all over the Middle East. To bar 134,000,000 people from entering the US because of their religion is extremely disturbing. The US was doing a perfectly good job of keeping terrorists out of the country long before this ban. Almost no Muslims are terrorists anyway. I talked to some of my Middle Eastern Muslim friends about the travel ban and found their responses very enlightening. I compiled their statements here, in case you’re interested in reading them. http://www.connectthecultures.com/trump-travel-ban-muslim-men-respond/

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