For immediate release

Media Contacts:
Phyllis Bennis,, 202 787 5206
Domenica Ghanem,, 202 787 5205

Today the White House is expected to issue an executive order calling for drastic changes to U.S. refugee, immigration, and visa policies.

This is the response from Institute for Policy Studies Middle East expert Phyllis Bennis, who has been analyzing U.S. Middle East and foreign policy for more than 40 years:

“This will amount to an executive order to ban Muslims from the United States, demonizing people from Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East/North Africa. It is no accident that of the seven countries identified, the U.S.

  • is at war in five (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia),
  • has troops deployed and military bases in another (Sudan), and
  • imposes harsh sanctions and frequent threats against the last (Iran).

These are all policies that fuel refugee flows in the first place. We are banning refugees from wars that we started.

If we are serious about taking care of refugees and ending the conditions that give rise to their plight, we must protect and welcome far more of the 65 million people currently displaced in the world. Simultaneously, we must work to end the wars that create refugees.

The order also violates international law requiring countries to provide refuge to those in desperate need, and completely reverses the long history of America’s claim — however often the claim was denied — to be a country that welcomes refugees and immigrants.”

Available for comment:
Phyllis Bennis,, 202 787 5206

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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