Not too long ago, the world was hit with the news that newly elected United States of America president, Donald Trump had banned all immigrants and refugees from seven (7) Arab countries for four months from entering the United States. The countries include Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. This executive order was signed on the 27th of January 2017. The timing of the ban came when there are not less than sixty (60) percent more refugees than in 2011 when Obama imposed new security check on Iraqi refugees.

The general reaction to the executive order was a disapproving one from the world over. Although the president claimed it was no different from the one imposed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. This view is seen as incorrect by many because the Obama imposition was in response to a specific flaw in the security screening for people from Iraq. It was intended to slow down the admission rate of Iraqi refugees for a six (6) months period and to eliminate it. An Obama administration official on national security made it known that there was no month during the imposition that Iraqis did not gain entry into the country.

As far as it goes with similarities, the two policies limit immigration on a temporary basis. They both applied more stringent immigration policy in an attempt to increase national security against Islamic terrorism. The similarity line between the two policies is drawn at this point.


The Donald Trump and Obama policies are fundamentally different in all sense of it. President Trump’s executive order applies to seven countries and suspends the travel of all immigrants and refugees for 120 days entirely. Initially included in the executive order was lawful permanent residents of the United States, although there was a decision to permit them eventually.

Former United States president, Obama’s imposition and review of vetting procedures only applied to refugees and applicants for special immigrant visas (SIVs). His order was also just limited to only one country, Iraq unlike Trump’s listing of seven countries.


Looking at the policies from a different angle, it clearly shows that President Trump’s executive order was in response to a widespread fear of potential terrorists entering the United States of America. Although no individual from the listed seven countries has been implicated in a fatal terrorist attack in the United States since the 9/11 bombing.

While Barack Obama’s policy was in response to a direct and known threat. It was not a prevention mechanism for fear of what is perceived would happen. He was necessitated after it was discovered that in May 2011, Iraqi nationals plotted to send explosives, money, and weapons to Al-Qaeda. The Iraqi citizens it was gathered, entered the United States as refugees.


Donald Trump’s new travel ban was blocked nationwide by Hawaii federal judge hours before it was supposed to begin. The scrutiny of the executive order in the first place points to how flawed it is. With many labeling the president’s intent anti-Muslim. In 2011 when Barack Obama came up with his policy, it was not challenged because of the results it was meant to achieve. It was instead allowed to come to fruition and resulted in modifications of vetting procedures following a specific threat.

On February 9th, 2017, the 9th circuit court of appeals unanimously repudiated the White House’s attempt to restore President Trump’s travel ban. The court questioned the constitutionality of the ban with the government left with no sufficient justification to be offered for why refugees and immigrants from the seven (7) listed countries were labeled as threats. The presiding judge ruled the ban unconstitutional because the ban discriminates against Muslims. In addition to that, the ban was also ruled unconstitutional because the government did not justify why the current vetting and screening system in the United States was insufficient.

The court also rejected the government’s contention that the courts had no right to question or review the executive order. On the current stand, until the case reaches the supreme court of the United States of America, the ban on the seven countries remains suspended.

Federal district court Judge Derrick Watson had the following to say about the case.

“The illogic of the government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed”. He also said. “It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the government itself relies, that these seven countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 per cent to 99.8 per cent.

“It would, therefore, be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the government does, that it does not.”

Federal Judge Watson didn’t fail to refer to Trump’s statement as a presidential candidate. He said, “For instance, there is nothing veiled about this press release: ‘Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.’”

The other federal judge who ruled against the ban is United States district judge Theodore D. Chuang in federal court in Maryland. And he has this to say, “ The history of public statements continue to provide convincing case that the purpose of the Second Executive Order remains the realization of the long evidenced Muslim ban.”  He further said,” In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary objective for the travel ban,”

Meanwhile, justice department lawyers had argued that the prohibition was necessary for national security. And Trump has slammed the court ruling as overreaching. It is very much expected and has been stated by the president that he will not relent. The Supreme Court at some point is expected to come into play as the president seeks implementation of the executive order.