Update on Trump’s Ban (February 1, 2017)

February 4 update: A U.S. judge has temporarily blocked the Trump Administration from implementing the travel ban. See here for details.

I wanted to share some of the latest updates and analysis in the battle to stop Trump’s immigration ban.

  • Green card holders: It appears that green card holders have now been made fully exempt from the ban according to Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer. Originally, green card holders were restricted. Then, after outcry, the Department of Homeland Security announced green card holders would be allowed in but subject to secondary review. Now, if what Spicer says is true, green card holders will automatically be granted entry. Until this is confirmed we still advise caution, but this is a hopeful sign.
  • Frequently asked questions: We have compiled an FAQ to answer all of the questions we are hearing from the Iranian-American community. There are still many unknowns. For instance, the Trump administration appears to have backed down on whether the ban will prevent people who are dual nationals of a restricted country and a non-restricted country (e.g. a dual Iranian-Canadian national), according to a recent Customs and Border Patrol post. However, it is still not clear if visas will be issued for such individuals and if existing visas for dual nationals will be revoked – two internal State Department memos indicate this may still be the case. One of those memos also suggests that all visas from the restricted countries would be revoked, but we have received indications that this will only be for visa holders who are outside of the U.S. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has contradicted itself on numerous issues. But what we do have answers to are all included in our FAQ and we hope you find it useful.
  • Trump’s motives for the Muslim ban: A disturbing set of comments have circulated that are attributed to a top Trump administration official indicating that their aim is indeed to target people based on religion, with the aim of reducing the Muslim population inside of the United States. According to the Trump White House’s favored news outlet – Breitbart – a White House official told reporters that Trump’s policy is based on the fact that “the situation [of large Islamic populations] that exists today in parts of France, in parts of Germany, in Belgium, etcetera, is not a situation we want replicated inside the United States.” If you look at how the Trump ban is being implemented, it bears out this logic. People from the list of seven Muslim-majority countries are no longer being granted visas or allowed to enter the U.S. Meanwhile, visa holders in the U.S. have had their permanent resident applications suspended. As their visas begin to expire, those people will leave the country. There is a clear pattern to reduce the Muslim population in the United States – starting with Iranians.
  • H.R.158 visa waiver discrimination: Reports have surfaced over the past several days indicating how closely the battle over H.R.158 visa discrimination and the Trump ban are linked. We now know that staff from the House Republican Judiciary Committee secretly helped the Trump administration write the executive order. This is the same staff that demanded that Iran be included in H.R.158 and that dual nationals should be targeted. Make no mistake, there are some very motivated people who know exactly what they are doing to target us right now.
  • Global Entry Program revocations: We have received numerous reports of Iranian green card holders having their Global Entry Program membership revoked. We have not heard of any cases of U.S. citizens having their membership revoked – please contact us if this has happened to you. If these reports indicate a broader policy, it feeds into Trump’s motive for a ban – a larger effort to make Iranian-Americans second class citizens.
  • Flynn puts Iran “on notice”: We are extremely concerned about Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s unusual appearance at today’s White House press briefing in which he issued a cryptic threat aimed at Iran. We are equally concerned with recent actions by Iran that also seem intended to provoke and that this could lead to a significant escalation. Our full statement is here.
Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made a contribution to NIAC – and encouraged their friends and family to make a donation as well. We have raised over $239,000 in the past five days, meaning we are just $61,000 short of our goal of raising $300,000 before February 15. If you haven’t yet, please make a contribution here
 
We have some major plans that will be coming in place over the next several days and we look forward to sharing them with you. In the meantime – thank you – and please continue spreading the message so that we have the resources necessary to fight back in these uncertain times. We will continue to be in touch and our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by the ordeal of the past few days.
 
Best,

Trita Parsi, PhD

About Author

Trita ParsiTrita ParsiDr. Trita Parsi is the founder and president of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Parsi is the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an award-wining author of two books, Treacherous Alliance - The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the US (Yale University Press, 2007) and A Single Roll of the Dice - Obama's Diplomacy with Iran (Yale University Press, 2012). Treacherous Alliance won the Council of Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Award in 2008 (Silver medallion). A Single Roll of the Dice was selected as The Best Book on The Middle East in 2012 by Foreign Affairs. Parsi currently teaches at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He tweets at @tparsi.
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