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Because You Asked: Why Did President Trump Ban Muslims from Entering the U.S?

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Welcome to this segment of Because You Asked.

David in Michigan asks, “why did President Trump ban Muslims from entering the U.S.? How long are they banned?

In short David, President Trump didn’t ban Muslims.  He didn’t ban anyone based on religion.  And, there isn’t really a ban.

Trump suspended all refugee resettlement into the U.S. for four months and refugee resettlement from Syria indefinitely.  He also suspended for three months entry by citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — on immigrant or non-immigrant visas, including apparently, people holding dual citizenship with other nations.  These countries were selected because there is almost no vetting possible at this point of who these people are, what are their backgrounds, affiliations, loyalties, etc.

Why did he do this?

Trump said the suspensions are needed to protect the nation from potential terrorists he believes could sneak into the U.S. while he and his national security team determine how best to strengthen vetting procedures.  This was a campaign promise and the majority of Americans support it.

Who is effected?

As initially written, the order covered everyone with a visa who was from those specific countries, the only visas sure to be allowed in are those for people with diplomatic clearance.  Meanwhile, Trump also cut the number of refugees to be allowed into the U.S. this year from 110,000 to 50,000, meaning if and when the suspension is lifted on refugees, fewer will be resettled — and no Syrians, with a civil war there still raging.

So, it’s not a Muslim ban?

No! The order doesn’t mention the word Muslims.  Read from a legal perspective, it suspends either entire programs (the refugee resettlement program) or entry from certain countries.  But it also says that once refugee resettlement begins again, officials can prioritize the claims of refugees persecuted for their religious beliefs, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Nothing in the order, however, specifically bans allowing Muslims in after the suspension is lifted. It does, however, call for a process by which only people who “support the Constitution” are allowed in.  This last part is very important.  It would seem prudent that the United States allow in only people who want to support our country, and follow American law, which stems from our Constitution.  Many immigrants are coming from countries where their religion is the only law, and vast portions of that law are not compatible with American law.  So, on this point it would seem a prudent measure.

Thanks, David, great question!

 

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