Trump’s Bans on Safe Passage

Since his first week in office, President Trump has launched unprecedented attacks on U.S. migration pathways that IRAP’s clients most frequently depend on to relocate to safety and to reunite with family members.

U.S. Safe Passage Status Tracker for Overseas Applicants

To track the constantly changing landscape of immigration laws under the Trump Administration, IRAP has created a U.S. Safe Passage Status Tracker with current information on the status of certain U.S. migration pathways most frequently used by applicants overseas who are seeking safety. The tracker does not include information on asylum processing for individuals who have reached the U.S. border or on individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on non-immigrant visas.

Current as of June 22, 2020: In addition to the restrictions listed below, COVID-19 proclamations ban entry of certain individuals who have been in mainland China, Iran, Schengen Area (Europe), United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, or Brazil within 14 days of entry.  People seeking safety may also face practical hurdles to travel due to COVID-19, including inability to travel internally within the country of their residence, inability to obtain exit permits, embassy closures, and lack of commercial flights through which to travel to the US. 

  • Refugees in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program:   On June 18, 2020, the UNHCR and IOM announced that they will resume refugee travel as feasible given travel restrictions. However, the U.S. has not resumed regular refugee travel.
  • Follow-to-join refugees with approved I-730 petitions: On June 18, 2020, the UNHCR and IOM announced that they will resume refugee travel as feasible given travel restrictions.
  • Follow-to-join asylees with approved I-730 petitions: Follow-to-join asylees may travel.
  • Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa holders (SI/SQ classifications): IOM may be arranging travel for Special Immigrant Visa holders in extremely limited circumstances; Special Immigrant Visa holders may also organize their own travel when feasible. 
  • Family-based immigrant visa applicants with approved I-130 petitions: The following bans are in place, in addition to other policy changes enacted by the administration to restrict eligibility for visas:
    • The April 22 Presidential Proclamation and its extension ban, until December 31, 2020 at least, entry on immigrant visas for relatives of lawful permanent residents and parents, adult children, or siblings of U.S. citizens who did not have a valid visa as of April 23, 2020. As of June 22, 2020, the Proclamation exempts children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of the ban.
    • The Muslim ban and its expansion indefinitely ban the entry on immigrant visas for certain nationals from Muslim-majority and African countries.
  • Parolees: Parolees may travel.
    • Central American Minors (CAM) parole:  The Trump Administration ended the CAM parole program in August 2017, but because of a settlement in a case brought by IRAP the government has agreed to process families who had conditional approval at the time of the program’s termination.

April 22, 2020 Presidential Proclamation, “Immigration Ban”

Know Your Rights: Immigration Ban (available in Arabic, Dari, English, Farsi, and Spanish)

On June 22, 2020, the Presidential Proclamation was extended until December 31. The ban now exempts children who would age out of eligibility for a visa because of the ban.

The Muslim Ban and Its Expansion

Know Your Rights: Muslim and African Ban

Read this document to learn who is affected by the current version of the Muslim Ban and African Ban (available in: Arabic, English, Farsi, Somali).


Resources on Waivers

These documents are guidance from the U.S. Department of State to U.S. consular officials regarding the processing of waivers under the Presidential Proclamation 9645. They were obtained by IRAP through a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and as such, contain significant redactions from the U.S. Department of State.

Under the Presidential Proclamation, a waiver can be issued if:

(1) denying entry would cause the foreign national undue hardship;
(2) entry would not pose a threat to the national security or public safety of the United States; and
(3) entry would be in the national interest.

These documents, dated January 23, 2018, provide several pieces of insight into these standards, including that:
– conditions in the applicant’s country of origin or residence, including war, will not be considered by consular officials in considering undue hardship, even for an applicant who is from a conflict zone.
– national interest and undue hardship will be assessed on a sliding scale, so an applicant whose admission is deemed to promote the U.S. national interest more significantly need not show the same extent of undue hardship.
– each member of a family applying for a waiver must individually establish that a waiver is needed to prevent undue hardship.

IRAP continues to condemn this discriminatory ban and the opaque nature of the waiver process.


The Evolution of the Muslim Ban — an Explainer 

To break down the different versions of the Muslim ban and how they were challenged in the courts, IRAP has put together a handy overview that will be updated frequently to show the current status of each Executive Order.

The overview also illustrates how the majority of all impacted travelers and refugees have one thing in common: they are nationals of countries with a predominantly Muslim population or of African countries.  These bans are a part of President Trump’s unprecedented attacks on Black, Brown, and Muslim immigration.

Click on the image below to access a PDF version:

The Evolution of the Muslim Ban – an Explainer (PDF)

Further references:
A timeline with links to all case documents:
A concise description of the Muslim ban litigation in paragraph form:
A comprehensive list of links to all Muslim ban cases: