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Responding to reports that the Trump administration is expanding what has become known as the Muslim ban, which President Trump signed during his first week in office, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s executive director said:

“This chaos has become the new normal. The policies this administration has enacted towards people seeking safety have been cruel, inhumane, bigoted. Once again, we reject these policies and stand in support of all people this administration seeks to exclude because of their identity. Reviving this ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, is a violation of the values of human rights and human dignity, and it must be overturned.”

“The Trump administration’s efforts to expand the ban are offensive and actually harmful to our national security. Our research has demonstrated how every version of this ban has shown itself to be deadly, dangerous, and disastrous. This policy is rooted in hate, white supremacy, and racism.

“Since the ban was first implemented three years ago, we have seen families torn apart, a rise in anxiety in Muslim communities, and anti-Muslim hate crimes, and people who were supposed to be welcomed to safety have been stuck in limbo by a government that abandoned its own commitments. The ban has become a catastrophe, especially for all those to whom it is a question of life and death.

“One particular country jumps out from the list compiled – as Muslims and other ethnic minorities flee persecution in Myanmar, after being subjected to one atrocious crime after another with devastating results, including mass killings, rapes, and the burning of entire villages, the U.S. makes the unconscionable decision to deny them welcome.”

Background and context:

When President Trump signed what has become known as the Muslim ban during his first week in office, he set into motion a series of events that continue to leave families in uncertainty and danger to this day. Amnesty International USA has stood against the Muslim ban from its first iteration, calling on Congress to nullify it through passage of the NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214 / S. 1123), which has strong support in both bodies of Congress. Amnesty USA’s members from around the country mobilized against the ban in states across the country, participated in a protest march and rally in DC, delivered a nationwide petition to Congressional leadership, and galvanized communities in airports and conducted gatherings to inform people of their rights.

In the aftermath of the ban, AIUSA created a dozen case studies of the harms caused to individuals and families from Yemen, Iran, Sudan and elsewhere and documented the ways lives had been upended by the ban, and in 2019, Amnesty International USA’s researchers traveled to Lebanon and Jordan to conduct nearly 50 interviews with refugees that as a result of the ban, have been stranded in countries where they face restrictive policies, increasingly hostile environments, and lack the same rights as permanent residents or citizens. AIUSA’s report, “The Mountain is in Front of Us and the Sea is Behind Us,” documented how Trump’s discriminatory policies have decimated refugee resettlement from Lebanon and Jordan, which host the highest number of refugees in the world relative to their populations. Amnesty International has also detailed how returns of refugees from Lebanon to Syria is premature and, in late 2019, published a further report, Sent to a war zone: Turkey’s illegal deportations of Syrian refugees, detailing how Turkey has deported Syrian refugees to Syria where they are at grave risk.

Note: Two families profiled in AIUSA’s report are available for interviews on the ban. Photos are available here and video is available here and here. Amnesty International USA held a press conference call in advance of the ban expansion – a transcript and a recording of the call are both available here.

Media contact: Mariya Parodi, [email protected]

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