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What is the expanded Muslim Ban?

By Oxfam

Here’s what you need to know about the Trump administration’s latest discriminatory action.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration doubled down on one of its signature anti-American policies: the Muslim Ban.

A symbol of divisiveness, fear-mongering, and hate, the ban now restricts people from 13 countries from traveling to the US, effectively separating thousands of families from their loved ones and signaling to the world that in this administration’s eyes, not all people are created equal.

“This marks yet another dark day in America’s history,” said Noah Gottschalk, Oxfam America’s humanitarian policy lead, in response to the expansion. “The decision by this administration to expand the list of countries on the original Muslim Ban list rubs salt on wounds that have been festering for the last three years.”

Learn more about this change and what you can do about it.

What is the Muslim Ban?

In January 2017, President Trump issued his original Muslim Ban just days after entering office.

The executive order barred people from seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US for 90 days, banned the admission of Syrian refugees—the world’s largest refugee population—and suspended the US refugee admissions program for 120 days, leaving thousands of vulnerable people, many of whom had already been approved for resettlement to the US, trapped in limbo.

Oxfam joined thousands of people around the country in protests at airports and in front of the White House and challenged the ban in courts. Ultimately, a 5-4 US Supreme Court ruling in 2018 upheld the Trump administration’s third version of the ban. That iteration, which remains in force, blocks travel to the US from five Muslim-majority countries and North Korea, and specific Venezuelan government officials.

How was the ban expanded?

In January 2020, the Trump administration added six countries to the ban: Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

The stringent travel restrictions, which vary between countries, include banning most immigrant visas and preventing some people from coming to the US through the diversity visa lottery.

According to The New York Times, the expansion may “hinder more than 12,300 potential immigrants over the next year from resettling, finding work, or reuniting with their families in the US.”

What is the human impact of this policy?

Fareeha, a mother of three children, fled her home in Syria after fighting intensified around their home. They fled to Jordan for their safety, struggling to find work as refugees to pay their rent and buy food.

After a lengthy process, her son was finally approved for resettlement in the US, but then the Muslim Ban went into effect. She was devastated.

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Fareeha is a Syrian mother of three living as a refugee in Amman, Jordan, whose son lost the opportunity to settle in the US due to the Muslim Ban. Photo: Becky Davis/Oxfam

“He, his wife, 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter went through the entire vetting process, which took almost four years of background checks, interviews and physical health examinations,” she told Oxfam. “They finally got approval to resettle to the US in the beginning of 2016. But when President Trump took office, he stopped them from being able to be resettled because of the Muslim Ban.”

What can I do with Oxfam to help stop the ban?

No community should be discriminated against because of their religion or where they come from—but that is exactly what the Trump administration’s discriminatory bans are intended to do. For the last three years, Oxfam and people like you have come together to urge our elected representatives to fight back against this heartless and un-American policy.

Oxfam is now urging Congress to immediately pass the NO BAN Act. The legislation not only repeals President Trump’s Muslim, Refugee, and Asylum Bans but also prevents any future administration from enacting similar discriminatory policies.

The Act, which will be up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives in the coming days, is supported by hundreds of members of Congress, almost 400 diverse civil rights, faith, national security and community organizations, as well as private companies and more than 50 immigration law professors.

Show your support for the NO BAN Act today and help us dismantle the Muslim Ban—once and for all!

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