Since the Supreme Court upheld the Muslim Ban in June 2018, there have been numerous reports concerning the “waiver” mechanism purportedly designed to enable citizens of the countries affected by the ban to enter the United States if they meet specific criteria. These reports all suggest that individuals who should be eligible under the enumerated criteria are routinely barred from travel and that, in fact, the waiver process to provide humanitarian exceptions to the ban has never been meaningfully implemented. MESA joined several civil rights and refugee and immigrants’ rights organizations in serving as one of the plaintiffs challenging the legality of the Muslim Ban in litigation from 2017 through June of last year. A recent op-ed, written by refugee rights advocates from another plaintiff organization—the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), provides an overview of the failures of the waiver process and the ongoing arbitrary and discriminatory character of the Muslim Ban.
In reviewing current information concerning the shortcomings of the waiver process, MESA President, Judith E. Tucker, commented “MESA continues to be proud to have stood on the right side of history in challenging the Muslim Ban together with the ACLU and others and remains deeply concerned about its discriminatory impact including the apparent failure of the government to implement a waiver program enabling individuals from affected countries to travel to the United States on humanitarian and other grounds.”