News & Resources

Five Years After the Muslim Ban, Refugees Remain in Limbo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

January 27, 2022


Spencer Tilger


IRAP Calls on Biden Administration to Address Lingering Impact of the Discriminatory Policy

(New York, NY) Five years ago today, newly-inaugurated President Trump issued his first executive order banning refugees and other travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. As the Trump administration separated families and blocked refugees from accessing safety, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) mobilized lawyers to go to the nation’s airports and led the legal charge to defeat the Muslim ban. 

The next day, IRAP filed Darweesh v. Trump, the first legal challenge to the Muslim ban on behalf of two clients unjustly detained at JFK Airport in New York. Shortly after, the organization was named lead plaintiff in IRAP v. Trump, the first lawsuit challenging the entirety of President Trump’s Executive Order. Another IRAP lawsuit, JFS v. Trump, prevailed against an iteration of the ban aimed at restricting resettlement of Muslim and Black refugees.

President Biden officially rescinded the Muslim ban on his first day in office, allowing travel to resume and families to reunite. However, the Biden Administration’s failure to address long-standing processing delays, re-examine inefficient and unfair vetting procedures, and institute basic due process and transparency measures means that many of the obstacles preventing refugees–especially Muslim and Black refugees–from reaching safety in the United States still persist. 

On the five year anniversary of the ban, IRAP calls on President Biden to take urgent action to reform U.S. refugee resettlement and ensure the Muslim ban ends once and for all.

IRAP Litigation Director Mariko Hirose said in a statement:

“Since day one, IRAP has stood with our clients, other advocates, and the American public to fight the Muslim ban. This fight is not over: the bigoted, insidious policies of the previous administration continue to stall resettlement of Muslim and Black refugees and prevent families from reuniting. On this shameful anniversary, we call on President Biden to fulfill his campaign promise to end the Muslim ban and restore the United States as a country that welcomes refugees.”

Additional Resources

Read IRAP’s January 2022 report, Rebuilding the U.S. Refugee Program for the Future: 22 Recommendations for 2022: HERE

Read IRAP’s March 2021 report, Families in Limbo: What the Biden Administration Can Do Now to Address Unreasonable Delays in Refugee and Asylee Family Reunification: HERE

Read IRAP’s October 2020 (Updated June 2021) report, Debunking “Extreme Vetting”: Recommendations to Build Back the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program: HERE