I keep seeing Trump's latest bit of executive action regarded as a 'Muslim Ban'.

It doesn't make sense to me, since all of the information I can find shows that he is imposing a 90-day ban on travel for all citizens of those countries, not just the Muslim ones.

If non-Muslims are also banned, why is this being called a Muslim ban?

I want to clarify (because in today's hyper-aggressive political environment we need to anymore), I am not looking to argue, I am looking for information. I feel like either I am missing something or the facts of the matter have been spun.

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    Ugh.......this fixation on religion thing is so annoying. 100% of XYZ population (regardless of religion) are not allowed to travel here due to .006%(random handwavium number) of them (regardless of religion) clinging to ideas of grandeur and hatred of those who think differently than they do (wait....I think the hatred of people who think differently is on both sides..........hmmm......maybe this should change) Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:35
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    Is there a generic non-flamy name for this ban? I think that name should go in the title, but can't think of what to call it.
    – bobsburner
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 16:06

6 Answers 6


No, all non-citizens and non-green card holders from these countries will not be allowed into the US.

The text of the Executive Action:

I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

(emphasis mine)

It's not accurate to describe it as a Muslim ban. The story was inspired by Trump's statements during his campaign.

This article published by The Hill states:

They point to Trump’s Dec. 2015 call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration to the U.S. He later softened his stance, saying he wanted to target individuals from terror-prone nations.

(emphasis mine)

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    "The story was inspired by Trump's statements during his campaign": And, perhaps, by the actual motivation behind the order, in which context non-Muslims affected by the ban may be seen as collateral damage.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 17:39
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    Comments suggesting that non-Muslims would receive preferential treatment in receiving waivers from the ban or expedited processing after the ban also go a long way to justifying the characterization of the ban as being a “Muslim ban.”
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:41
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    @phoog if the "actual motivation" was to ban muslims, why weren't the other 43 primarily muslim nations included?
    – Michael J.
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 20:21
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    Your answer is correct, but it's worth noting that Trump has made statements indicating he would like to give Christians priority, even if he is not doing so currently: npr.org/2017/01/29/512305163/… Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 20:27
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    @MichaelJ. perhaps because they thought they'd start small and work their way up. There have certainly been many suggestions that they are preparing to expand the list.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 20:33

Although the ban is nominally targeted at everyone of certain nationalities, it specifically excludes people from religious minorities in those countries. Because these are Muslim majority countries, it means that it only really applies to Muslims.

Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality.

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    Most of the refugees are of a persecuted minority religion, especially chia muslims in Syria and Yemen. So the exclusion of the ban applies, as the ban itself, mainly to muslims contrarily to what you write. -1.
    – Joël
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 20:28
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    Seems it does not allow Christians in uk.reuters.com/article/… and I have seen other articles with different people affected
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 21:10
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    @Mark is correct. The order provides for prioritization of refugees who are members of a religious minority, but only after the 120-day refugee ban and the 90-day total ban are lifted. Furthermore, these may not be lifted at the end of the stated time periods, because there is provision for extending them if certain conditions are not met.
    – phoog
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:45
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    This answer is incorrect. The quoted section of the EO has nothing to do with the entry ban. The entry ban will be expired before the quoted section of the EO even goes into effect. The entry ban is section 3(c) of the EO; this is Section 5(b), which regards giving preference under the U.S. Refugee Admission Program once it is resumed (which will not occur until 30 days after the entry ban in Section 3(c) is already expired.) The entry ban does not exclude religious minorities, but rather includes all nationals of the countries on the list, provided that they are not also U.S. nationals.
    – reirab
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 23:08
  • @phoog Not to mention other Muslim sects such as Ahmadi. In fact the Sunnis seem to have more of an issue with them than the Shias. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 4:33

No it's not only Muslims. My mother in law is Christian and she too cannot enter the USA even with her valid legal visa. Because she is an iraqi citizen.

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    > she too cannot enter the USA even with her valid legal visa. Putting aside the eo, a valid visa doesn't assure an alien of entry into the us. The border officers have complete discretion in declining entry by any holder of a valid visa. A fact many people find shocking.
    – dannyf
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:44
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    @dannyf they have wide discretion, not complete discretion. They have to have a reason, and it has to be a valid reason under the statute and regulations.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 4:45
  • She would need to be a citizen of Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, or Syria for this to impact her at all. Of those 7 nations, 3-4 are considered "failed nation states" with little to no government in control of the territory.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:07
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    She is an iraqi citizen hence my post. I wouldn't have posted this if that were the case.
    – JonH
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:08
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    @JonH I recognize that and am not debating that point. My point is, this is hardly a "Muslim ban", it's more-or-less a high risk nationality ban. The fact that she's Christian supports that even further.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:10

The reason I believe many consider it a Muslim ban is that Christians have a slyly worded exemption/preference.

It should be noted that the executive order signed Friday tells officials to "prioritize" people suffering from religious-based persecution — provided that those people are members of a "minority religion" in the majority-Muslim countries covered under the ban. In many of those countries, Christianity is the main minority religion.

Seems Cristian groups oppose this preference. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/trump-immigration-christians-234341

EDIT(Based on further research): Although portrayed in the media as a christian exemption the text found in the below link does not specify any particular religion, only that they are a minority religion. http://www.npr.org/2017/01/31/512439121/trumps-executive-order-on-immigration-annotated

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    This is not a "slyly worded exemption". Any religion being persecuted in those seven countries falls under the exemption (consider Bahai as an example). Calling it a "Christian exemption is merely a political attempt to make Donald Trump look bad. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 19:01
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    This is a political attempt to make Donald Trump seem bad. First of all, Muslims from the majority of countries that have Muslims are not affected. It is only people from the countries identified as terrorist aiding or failed states by the Obama administration are affected. Secondly all minority religions being persecuted in tose countries are eligible for the exemption. Religious persecution is a valid reason to be allowed in in any case. If Muslims were a minority in a Christian country and persecuted, then they would also fall under that category. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 19:07
  • What if they are a minority Muslim religion and are being persecuted? Remember like Christianity there are many 'flavors' of Islam and the minority is often persecuted. I am just posting beliefs held by many respected people in academic and political arenas.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 20:44
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    If they are a "minority Muslim" sect, and undergoing persecution by the majority then they could also be included in the exemption. It is the press that are defining this as a Muslim vs. Christian issue. Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 20:48
  • I stand corrected. In actual wording it is minority religion and does not specify Christian. I will update my post.
    – Joe
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 20:51

Short Answer:


Long Answer:

The last time I looked, religion wasn't on a passport. Therefore the only way you could ban one religion would require the airlines to ask passengers their religion. As such they could easily lie and say "atheist" or "agnostic" to board the plane. Therefore you must ban all passport holders from a given nation(s).

Bonus answer; majority of Americans support the travel ban (Trump travel ban poll) so much of the media and opportunistic politicians are off-side with the will of the people. If the public has been mislead about the six or seven nations (I forget exact number) in question is a different issue.

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    Instead of having to reference the Russian government news network you could also link the original Reuters poll.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 12:25
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    @Philipp This is an unfair comment to make on the basis that we permit or don't discriminate against citation from other state-owned news networks such as the BBC Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 15:18

Yes, Muslims, Christians and Jews are banned! Do you know there are about 9,000 Jews in Iran!

There are also between 32,000 and 45,000 Zoroastrians in Iran.

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    The first sentence is barely correct and entirely unsupported by references. The second is not even relevant and also entirely unsupported by references.
    – Nij
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 10:00
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    @gerrit I believe Nij's point is that those links, or similar ones, should be included in the answer.
    – Beofett
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:38
  • @Beofett Yes, they should. I agree that it's only marginally relevant (not entirely irrelevant because it shows that the point of religious minorities in Iran is not a moot point).
    – gerrit
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 14:01
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    @reirab I mean that it is trivial, if there are multiple people of those groups from the restricted countries; it barely involves enough to be considered correct, but it is not nearly enough to be considered an entire correction to the disputed claim in the question. Much more accurate is to say that it is a restriction based on citizenship and not religion, as it now reads ambiguously to whether it's not just Muslims but Christians and Jews as well, and nobody else, or that it's a ban on all religious people and here are the main ones, or the accurate answer.
    – Nij
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 2:57

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