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The Muslim Travel Ban: Basic Facts

Protesta en el aeropuerto Phoenix Sky Harbor.
Photo credit: Lydia Guzman
Protesta en el aeropuerto Phoenix Sky Harbor. Photo credit: Lydia Guzman
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Concerned citizens flooded several U.S. airports in protest to President Trump’s executive action against people traveling from seven Muslim-majority countries, while dedicated lawyers helped those detained by immigration authorities and filed motions in various courts.

Here is what you need to need to know about what happened this weekend:

The countries affected by the ban are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, but according to the Trump administration, it may include other countries in the future.

The executive order also halted the refugee programThis applies to all refugees, not just those from the seven countries above. It also creates a 90-day ban on new visas for immigrants from those 7 countries, and bans Syrian refugees indefinitely.

There has been a lot of confusion about the implementation of the executive action. It was believed it would only affect refugees coming to the U.S. But then it became evident that the order affects U.S. green card holders, those on work visas and visitor visas, and people who hold dual citizenship in one of the banned countries.

Green card holders and others with valid visas are being detained for hours by CBP officers and are subjected to “secondary inspections” and questioning.

So far no green card holders have been returned to their home countries, but there are reports of Christian refugees being sent back.

The detentions and ban are unprecedented and contrary to our American values.

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Lawyers have been working non-stop. Lawyers gathered at major airports to offer assistance to detained travelers. The ACLU, NILC and other advocacy organizations filed injunctions against the executive orders, obtaining several stays in different jurisdictions across the country.

Some CBP officers ignored the court’s injunction and continued to detain travelers. Expect more motions to be filed in court.

There are reports of CBP agents demanding information about political opinions and social media postings.

Lawyers advise citizens of any of the seven countries listed above to not travel outside the U.S. until this mess is clarified in the courts and the court orders are being respected.

Permanent legal residents (green card holders) from the seven countries can travel, but individuals must inform family members about the details of the flight arrival. Friends or family should be able to notify lawyers and advocates if you are detained. Have an immigration lawyer’s contact information handy.

Consult with lawyers if you have specific concerns about your trip.