Please Stop Getting the “Muslim Ban” Wrong


Ruthann Robson says this today about President Trump’s immigration order:

Moreover, the EO itself does address religion. In its subsection on resuming refugee claims, which the EO suspends for 120 days, it instructs the government 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.” In the seven nations covered by the EO, the majority religion is Islam. Thus, unless the government considers different sects of Islam as minority religions, only non-Muslims would be eligible for a claim of religious-based persecution.

I’ve seen this formulation over and over, but it’s wrong. The “religious persecution” clause applies to refugees, who have been banned worldwide. This clause affects Muslims and non-Muslims about equally.

The travel ban applies to any visa holder, and is restricted to seven Muslim-majority countries. There’s a good case to be made that this ban is not truly based on nationality but is instead effectively aimed at Muslims, but the religious persecution clause doesn’t apply and has nothing to do with it.