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Tell Congress to End The Muslim Ban

ABOUT THE MUSLIM BAN 3.0

Have questions about Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0? Read on.

What has changed?

Unfortunately, not much. If you were impacted by the Muslim Ban last week then you are still impacted by it today. What has changed is how we are fighting the Muslim Ban. We have always focused on a dual strategy of legal challenges and legislative initiatives. That is why our sister organization, NIAC Action, will double-down with other allied organizations to lay the groundwork for legislative repeal of the Muslim Ban. We will win this fight but until that happens we will continue to provide you with guidance on the ban.

Who is still affected by the ban?

The issuance of immigrant visas (including “green card lottery” diversity visas) to nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and North Korea is suspended indefinitely. Permanent residence applications are not being processed for the listed countries. This means no immigrant visas will be issued or processed. The entry of nonimmigrants from Iran is also suspended, with the exception of student visa holders (F and M visas), or exchange visitor visas (J visas). B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visas are suspended for nationals of Libya and Yemen. Certain Venezuelan government officials and their families are also barred from entry on B-1/B-2 visas.  No nonimmigrant visas will be issued to Syrians or North Koreans. Somalis are subject to additional scrutiny but remain eligible for nonimmigrant visas.

Who is not affected by the ban?

The ban does not apply to individuals from the included countries who have been granted asylum or are already admitted as refugees inside the US.

Iranians on F, M, and J visas should be subjected to standard visa issuance procedures and not affected by the Muslim Ban.

Certain nonimmigrants from Libya (except B-1/B-2 visas), Yemen (except B-1/B-2 visas) and Venezuela (except certain government officials and their families) will be permitted to enter.  

The suspension of entry will not apply to travelers with other travel documents such as a transportation letter or advance parole document.

Section 3 of the Proclamation allows for case-by-case waivers for individuals otherwise barred from entry when the following conditions are met:

  1. A foreign national demonstrates undue hardship.
  2. Their entry would not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
  3. Their entry is in the national interest.

In practice it remains unclear what particular cases actually qualify for a waiver and the issuance of one is highly unpredictable. More information is provided in the section on waivers.

If I have a multiple-entry visa can I travel outside the U.S. and return?

This is by far one of the most common questions that U.S. visa-holders from the countries included in the Muslim Ban ask. The short answer is “yes” but do so with caution. For example, if you have a valid multiple-entry F1 visa then you can travel outside of the U.S. and return. We have heard of Iranian students with multiple-entry F1 visas who visited Iran since Muslim Ban 3.0 took effect and then returned to their studies in the U.S. without any issues. However, it is important to remember that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents can deny you entry to the U.S. even if you have a valid visa. There is always a risk of being turned away at the border and this risk existed prior to the Muslim Ban but appears to have risen slightly.

If I have a multiple-entry student visa, what do I need to travel outside the U.S. and return?

Since the vast majority of individuals who ask this question hold student visas, the next question will address what an F1 multiple-entry visa holder needs to travel outside the U.S. and return.

  • Valid passport with 6 months left before expiration with a valid multiple-entry visa stamped in it.
  • Valid I-20 with a signature from your ISO advisor on page 2 that is less than one year old.
  • Proof of financial support (e.g., award letters, bank statements).
  • Proof of university enrollment (e.g., admission letter, university ID, class registration).
  • Form I-901.
  • Check with your international student services for their list of recommended documents before departing as this list is subject to change.

It is best to bring as much documentation as possible. Additionally, while it is unnecessary to document your reason for travel, it always helps to be able to provide proof where possible (e.g., a wedding invitation) in case you are subjected to secondary screening.

Did the Supreme Court clarify the waiver process?

No. One dissenting opinion, i.e., the opinion of a judge who disagreed with the majority ruling, argues that the available evidence suggests that the waiver process is a sham as so few are granted. This depiction is backed up by the testimonials of consular officers, who have described the waiver process as a “fraud.” As letters responding to Sen. Van Hollen’s queries have clarified, very few waivers have been granted – less than 2% of applicants from Muslim-majority countries under the ban received a waiver, almost all of which were granted after Congress requested information from the administration.

Section 3 of the Proclamation allows for case-by-case waivers for individuals otherwise barred from entry when the foreign national demonstrates (1) undue hardship, (2) that their entry would not pose a threat to national security, and (3) that their entry is in the national interest. It remains unclear what circumstances satisfy these criteria but a medical emergency of a close family member is one situation that could hypothetically qualify for a waiver. Some individuals with fiances and spouses who have been impacted by the Muslim Ban have incorrectly presumed that a close relationship with a US person on its own satisfies the waiver standard. This does not appear to be the case. NIAC Action will continue to challenge this in Congress. For now, we recommend that anyone who believes they have a compelling case for a waiver continue to apply for a visa. Individuals in the US can also ask their legislators to check in with the administration on individual visa applications, which could help secure a waiver for family members of friends.

Is this permanent? Will banned classes of Iranians never be able to come as a result of this Ban?

Muslim Ban 3.0 does not have a set expiration date and the Supreme Court decision held that “the President is not required to prescribe in advance a fixed end date for the entry restriction.” We are confident that we will eventually defeat the Muslim Ban and “extreme vetting” procedures legislatively. This will be done through NIAC Action’s support of political candidates who are dedicated to rescinding the ban, keeping the issue in the spotlight, and working with partner organizations and allied lawmakers on a legislative solution.

Will Green Card holders be affected?

Under the terms of the proclamation, entry suspensions will not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States, commonly referred to as LPR’s or Green Card holders. However, green card applications are not being processed.

How does Muslim Ban 3.0 affect dual nationals?

Dual nationals who are traveling on a passport issued by a country other than the eight covered countries will not be affected. So if you are a citizen of an EU country, for example, and also hold an Iranian passport, as long as you are entering the US on a passport issued by the EU country you will not be affected by the proclamation. However, nationals of the seven banned countries under Muslim Ban 3.0 will still need a valid F, M, or J visa. Dual Iranian nationals with visas issued prior to October 18, 2017 will not have their visas revoked, but it remains to be seen whether they will be permitted to enter the United States, as the language of the proclamation is unclear on this point.

TAKE ACTION!

NIAC TAKES ON THE MUSLIM BAN

2019

NIAC worked closely with the offices of Senator Murphy (D-CT) and Representative Chu (D-CA) to introduce legislation targeted at ending the Muslim Ban by defunding it in Congress. The bill was released on the two-year anniversary of the Ban.

2018

NIAC led a coalition of 118 progressive organizations– including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Oxfam, MoveOn, and Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) – to demand Congressional oversight hearings on the Muslim Ban in order to work towards accountability and oversight of the Ban. 

In partnership with groups including the ACLU, NILC, SAALT, CAIR, and MPower Change, NIAC delivered petitions signed by more than 150,000 individuals to the offices of Representatives Judy Chu, Senator Murphy, Senator Van Hollen, and Senator Hirono. The petitions urged the next Congress to immediately take action to rescind the ban.

The Supreme Court released their decision upholding the Muslim Ban. You can take a look at our analysis on their decision, and on the opinions of the Court members, here. Though NIAC had hoped that justice and equality would triumph over hate and discrimination, we also suspected that the Supreme Court, given its current makeup, would side with Trump. NIAC outlined the plan moving forward through political organizing and legislative action.

NIAC assisted Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in drafting a Muslim Ban reporting requirements amendment that was adopted into the Senate Appropriations Committee. This amendment called on Congress to lead oversight into the implementation of Muslim Ban 3.0.

Led coalition of 50 progressive organizations to demand Congressional oversight of the Muslim Ban including reporting requirements. This would mean that the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would be required to report on the waivers that are issued and the visa applicants who were affected by the practice of “extreme vetting.” This would give us a foundation that can be used to demonstrate the necessity for a repeal. 

The Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Trump v. Hawaii challenging the constitutionality of the Muslim Ban 3.0. NIAC offered analysis of the arguments here

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) issued a letter to the Trump administration requesting more information on the obscure case-by-case waiver process of Muslim Ban 3.0.

NIAC filed National Iranian American Council v. United States Department of State to compel the Trump Administration to turn over requested documents which would provide vital information about the implementation of ‘extreme vetting’, as well as the impact that this policy has on Iranian nationals and nationals from the five other designated predominantly-Muslim countries.

2017

The Supreme Court issues a stay which effectively halts lower courts’ block of Muslim Ban and allows the Trump administration to temporarily enforce Muslim Ban 3.0 until the Supreme Court makes their final decision about the constitutionality of the Ban. NIAC offered some information on the development in this FAQ

Federal judges block Muslim Ban 3.0. First, in Hawaii, a federal Judge issues a temporary restraining order. A Federal Judge in Maryland then takes it further by blocking implementation of the Ban for the duration of the lawsuit filed by NIAC, Muslim Advocates, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Covington Burling LLP, on behalf of Iranian Alliances Across Borders and individual plaintiffs challenging the president’s September 24 Proclamation.

Trump issues Travel Ban 3.0, including Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea and Venezuela. NIAC immediately worked with coalition partners (including Muslim Advocates, IAAB, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State) to challenge the Presidential Proclamation.

MAR 6, 2017

Trump issues revised travel ban (Muslim Ban 2.0) targeting only six countries and exempting visa- and green card-holders, trying to make this iteration of the Ban last longer than the previous one. The Ban is struck down by Federal District Judges in Hawaii and Maryland on March 15 and 16, respectively.

FEB 3, 2017

Ban 1.0 is rejected by a Federal District Court Judge in Seattle, blocking it through a nationwide restraining order.

Immediately after the first Muslim Ban is announced and chaos falls upon airports across the US, NIAC calls for a grace period on the Ban, permitting nations of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen to be reunited with their families.

Shortly after taking office, Trump issues an executive order  which bans nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This is the first iteration of the Muslim Ban.

THE TIMELINE

Two years ago, in one of his first actions as President of the United States, Donald Trump shocked the world by making good on a bigoted campaign promise. In the first of his many actions to close our nation to immigrants and "outsiders," he banned Iranian nationals, along with immigrants from six other nations. 

From that moment forward, we've made it our top priority to repeal the Muslim Ban. With your help, we can do just that.

Tell Congress to End the Muslim Ban »Frequently Asked Questions about the Muslim Ban »Timeline: NIAC Responds to the Muslim Ban »