Response to the Executive Order to Limit Entry of Refugees, Immigrants, and Visa-Holders


Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East & North African Migration Studies denounces the Executive Order limiting the entry of Middle Eastern and North African refugees and immigrants to the U.S.

The Executive Order signed by President Trump on January 27th, 2017 places restrictions on the admission of non-citizens to the United States. Key provisions of the Executive Order include a 90‐day ban on entry into the United States for all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen; the indefinite suspension of entry into the United States of all Syrian nationals as refugees; the suspension of all refugee processing for 120 days; the introduction of new screening procedures for all visa applicants; and the suspension of the Visa Interview Waiver Program. The current scope of the Order also applies to green card and visa holders. We call on the President and Congress to lift the ban, which we believe to be discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The provisions of this Executive Order represent a blatant disregard for the testimony of experts in the field of migration studies.  Scholars of migration and displacement have shown that there is no definitive evidence linking the presence of refugees in a host country with increased risk to the citizens of that host country.  Experts in the field of diaspora studies have proven the hardship that comes along with the forced separation of families and communities in the wake of discriminatory immigration legislation.  Furthermore, historians of immigration have demonstrated that legal maneuvers that have in the past sought to close borders often resulted in forcing migrants into covert pathways of entry into the host country. Scholarship shows that legal migration is safer - for both migrants and host countries.

As scholars of global migration, we also understand that immigrants do not move in a vacuum.  Each migrant is part of an intricate, interconnected web of family, community, and resources. This interconnectedness and interdependency means that the negative toll exacted by this Executive Order on immigrant, refugee, green card, and visa-holder populations is far heavier than a tally of the number of actual border-crossers alone would suggest.  The countries targeted by the Executive Order have already suffered the violence of war and dispossession, and the provisions of the Order place additional challenges and burdens upon their people.  

As a journal of Middle East & North African migration research, and community of scholars, we express our commitment, and ethical responsibility to defend the rights of the individuals threatened by the Executive Order.  We call on all branches of the federal government to take every available step to suspend and repeal the Order. We also express our support for relevant legal challenges to the implementation of this Order such as those brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.  We call on fellow members of the academic community to join us in these actions.

~From the Editorial Team of Mashriq & Mahjar