Trump Executive Order to Ban Muslim Immigration Poses Threat to All Americans

January 27, 2017

Reports indicate that today, President Donald Trump will issue an executive order of questionable legality and need, amounting to a version of the “Muslim ban” that he first proposed during his campaign and that was criticized by Americans of all political persuasions.  

The order would reportedly ban entry to the U.S. from certain Muslim majority countries for 30 days. It would also stop almost all refugee admissions for at least 120 days, and indefinitely ban refugees from war-torn Syria. The refugee ban includes an exception for religious minorities claiming persecution, which effectively ensures that it will affect Muslims only. While the bans are in place, a new screening system will be developed. The order suggests that this system will require people to provide information about their religious beliefs as well as their views on gender relations and other extraneous matters.

“Our country is built on the foundation of religious freedom and judging people by what they do, not what they think or where they’re from,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program. “This Executive Order promises a return to the dark days of excluding people whose beliefs might be different from ours rather than engaging with them. It serves to scare Muslim and immigrant families and tarnishes America’s image as a land of optimism and opportunity.”

“This is not a carefully crafted set of restrictions designed to address any actual security threat. This is a Muslim ban,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Program. “Such a ban not only goes against the fundamental American values of religious freedom and equality; it puts our safety and security at risk. ISIS could not have asked for a better recruiting tool than this order. By sending a clear message to the world that America is anti-Muslim, Trump is handing ISIS and other terrorist groups a gift. That undermines both our values and our security.”

Brennan Center experts are available to comment on the executive orders and their legal and practical implications for all Americans. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Naren Daniel at (646) 292-8381 or


(Flickr image / Blaine O'Neill)