Changes in Immigration Policy Regarding Muslim Immigrants Across the Obama and Trump Administrations
Immigration to the United States has always been complicated, with legislation and the appreciation of immigrants often falling along racial, ethnic, and religious lines. This dominant theme has persisted and even emboldened in recent years, particularly for Muslim immigrants after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. This presentation argues that there exist significant changes and continuities in immigration policy regarding Muslim-majority countries, across the Obama and Trump presidencies, and that the cultural rhetoric surrounding Muslims during each directly impacted policy. Based on an analysis of laws, including executive orders, Congressional hearings, and past legislation, juxtaposed with rhetoric regarding Muslim immigration, I maintain that the laws put into place by each President contrast starkly. The hostile narrative adopted by former President Trump and his administration was directly reflected in his legal actions, whilst Obama’s more cooperative stance with the Muslim world was made clear with many of his decisions. Data from the Department of Homeland Security and independent immigration organizations illustrate the significant drop in Muslim immigrants and refugees accepted by the Trump administration, in sharp contrast with the record number of Muslim refugees accepted by the Obama administration. This data is used in conjunction with legislation and scholarly articles regarding the Muslim experience after 9/11 to more accurately portray the implications of policy on the people it affects. The attitude toward immigrants in the United States often seems cyclical, with feelings of xenophobia toward certain groups manifesting itself in legislation. In order to prevent discriminatory legislation from being established and mitigate harm to immigrants and refugees, we must recognize these patterns and remedy the grievances people hold toward immigrants.
Khan, Samreen, "Changes in Immigration Policy Regarding Muslim Immigrants Across the Obama and Trump Administrations" (2021). Research Days Posters 2021. 93.