Donald Trump’s “Muslim Ban” is an executive order upheld in a 5-4 ruling by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2018. The ban extends to a total of 13 countries: Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen. It is recognized for its religious discrimination against Muslim nations, with well over half of the countries having a population whose majority practice Islam.
The Muslim Ban pertains to those who are outside of the United States on the effective date, do not have a valid visa on the effective date, and have not obtained a waiver under Section 3(c). There are aspects of the ban that vary depending on the country. Venezuela’s ban is specific to the entry of government officials and their family members, who are unable to receive non-immigrant visas. This is not the case for the other countries, who share stricter suspensions of all immigrant and non-immigrant visas. While there are waivers available for those who hope to be made the exception, they are very scarcely given.
The Muslim Ban was made possible by an executive order, a power granted to the president of the United States, that allows the current president to exert their power as the executive branch. Congress and federal courts reserve the right to challenge the order granted that they are deemed unconstitutional. Executive orders are vulnerable not only to Congress and federal courts but also to new presidencies. When a new president enters office, they have the power to revoke previous orders.
President-elect Joe Biden has promised to overturn the Muslim Ban. During a 2020 summit, Biden stated: “If I have the honor of being president, I will end the Muslim ban on day one.” Revoking the Muslim Ban will ensure that one will not be denied a visa on the grounds that their country was on the list of this executive order. Whether Biden will be opening the doors to visa seekers from these countries or will be simply knocking down one of many hurdles that they have in front of them, remains undetermined.