What Makes Muslim Ban 3.0 So Dangerous

This article is a joint publication of Foreign Policy in Focus and In These Times.

Two years ago this December, Donald Trump issued his now infamous statement: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump has sought to put three different Muslim bans into place, with the last now making its way through the courts.

In a December 4 ruling, the Supreme Court decided to allow Muslim ban 3.0 to be implemented while challenges to its constitutionality make their way through the lower courts. In this, the Supreme Court overturned appellate courts’ earlier decisions to halt its implementation during the appeal process.

To be clear, this decision was not based on the merits of the case or the ban’s constitutionality. Nonetheless, for many Muslims, it indicates that institutionalized Islamophobia isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In the context of a president and administration that has repeatedly stoked anti-Muslim sentiments, this latest act of state violence is depressingly unsurprising.

Unlike earlier versions of the ban, which initially imposed three-month restrictions on six or seven Muslim-majority countries, version 3.0 indefinitely targets nationals from eight countries. Syrian and Somali nationals are being banned altogether, while nationals from Iran, Libya, Yemen and Chad face a range of restrictions and barriers to entry.

North Korea and Venezuela are also included in the latest ban, as a fig leaf to cover Trump’s expressed intention to target Muslims’ entry to the United States in arguments before the courts.

In the case of the previous bans, the time limits meant that when they reached the Supreme Court, they were essentially moot — no longer in effect. However, because of Muslim ban 3.0’s indefinite nature, it virtually ensures that the court will eventually have to rule on the merits of…

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