Will 2020 candidates stand up against the Muslim Ban?

By Oxfam
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A man holding the No Muslim Ban Ever sign joins the coalition mobilizing to oppose the Muslim bans. Photo: Les Talusan

We asked the presidential hopefuls if they would repeal the hateful and discriminatory policy. Here's what we learned.

January 27th marks three years since the Trump administration first issued its Muslim Ban Executive Order.

While the legal nuance of subsequent bans has evolved over time, the discriminatory, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment behind all of them is clear: it blocks people from five majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the US, prevents people from pursuing education, and separates families and loved ones.

No community should be discriminated against because of their religion or where they come from—but that is exactly what this ban is intended to do. Within hours of the initial announcement in 2017, thousands of Americans rushed to airports around the country and to the gates of the White House to protest and voice their strong opposition to this discriminatory action.

At its core, the Muslim Ban is rooted in divisiveness, fearmongering, and hate.

Who will take a stand against the ban?

It's about to get worse. Multiple reports indicate that President Trump intends to expand the ban to seven more countries as early as this week.

With the 2020 election upon us, we’re turning our attention to the next administration. As Democrats and Republicans vie to challenge President Trump, who is taking a clear stand against the ban?

First the good news: almost every candidate has stated his or her opposition to the ban. Many have publicly committed to quickly repeal it should they become president.

But is being against the ban enough? The ban was one of the first policies enacted by the Trump administration. It violates the very principles of religious tolerance and freedom upon which the country was founded. Ending it is relatively quick and easy to do with presidential authority. Surely repealing it should be one of the very first acts the next president should take.

We want to ensure that this anniversary of the Muslim Ban is the last. So, we asked all of the candidates (who are polling above 1 percent according to Real Clear Politics) to publicly commit to ending the Muslim Ban by January 27, 2021 and make a statement on social media restating their position.

Here’s what we learned from our research and from their responses:

Candidate Repeal the ban if elected? Commits to repealing Muslim Ban before the 4th anniversary (1/27/21)?
Vice President Joe Biden YES UNCLEAR – As part of Biden’s plan to Reclaim America's values as a nation of immigrants, Biden would immediately rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as “Muslim bans.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg YES YES – Three years ago, this president fanned the flames of hatred with his Muslim travel ban. Less than a year from now—on my first day in office—I will end it. The United States has always prided itself on its diversity, and it will again. - Twitter 1/27/20.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard UNCLEAR NO – “Trump’s 'travel ban' is supposedly for our national security. However it doesn’t do anything to make us safer because it’s not based on legitimate threat analysis - it is instead completely arbitrary and useless.” - Twitter 6/26/18
Michael Bloomberg UNCLEAR NO – Three years ago Trump ordered a travel ban on 7 Muslim-majority countries, kick starting a divisive, incendiary presidency that has made Muslims and other communities feel unwelcome. What Trump doesn't understand is that diversity is America's great strength and always will be - Twitter 1/27/20
Sen. Amy Klobuchar YES UNCLEARAs highlighted in her First 100 days plan: “Senator Klobuchar will put an end to the administration’s travel ban, recognizing that immigrants don’t diminish America, they are America. While security and vetting should stay in place, the Trump Administration’s ban was wrong.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders YES YES – As highlighted in his A Welcoming and Safe America for All plan, Sen. Sanders will repeal President Trump’s racist Muslim Ban on day one of his presidency.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren YES YES“I’ll reverse Trump’s bigoted Muslim Ban on my first day in office.”
Andrew Yang UNCLEAR NO“Banning immigrants based on their religion is unconstitutional”
Tom Steyer YES YES – Steyer would end the Muslim Travel Ban by January 27th, 2021
Joe Walsh NO NO – “Walsh has been supportive of President Trump’s travel ban, praised his cuts to the number of refugees admitted, and wants to give preference to Christian refugees over Muslim ones during selection.”
William Weld UNCLEAR NO“Banning immigrants based on their religion is unconstitutional”
President Donald Trump NO NO – Expanded the Ban to include Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, citizens from Sudan and Tanzania will not be able to participate in the diversity visa lottery.

Why does this commitment to immediately repeal the ban matter?

There are two reasons. First, every day the ban is in place is a day that families cannot be with their loved ones, a day that people facing violence and persecution cannot find refuge, another day that the US turns its back on the values on which it was founded: religious freedom and liberty. Leaving the ban in place hurts people, particularly those who are facing dire circumstances like civil war, extreme poverty, and political persecution. Repealing it as soon as possible is the right thing to do and should be a moral imperative for the next president.

Presidential candidates are jockeying to show what they value through the boldness and clarity of their ideas. Any candidate who wants to show clearly that they will prioritize reversing the numerous dangerous, hateful policies of the Trump administration and deliver an agenda that reflects core American values of respect and dignity for all immigrants should commit to repeal the ban as quickly as President Trump instituted it.

So, join us to demand that all candidates publicly commit to repealing the ban and prevent it from reaching a fourth anniversary in 2021.

Together we can end the Muslim Ban and fight for dignity for all.

Sign our candidate petition

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