Advocates Urge Trump Administration To Provide Information Regarding Extreme Vetting Processes And Possible Muslim Ban Expansion

Today, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Muslim Advocates, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Brennan Center for Justice and Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Trump administration seeking the release of detailed information regarding several important but overlooked provisions of the Muslim ban Executive Order: “extreme vetting” policies targeting certain visa applicants and a worldwide review of visa vetting and screening processes to identify additional countries to add to the list of targeted countries.

Extreme vetting measures have already been put in place in consulates and embassies around the world, and evidence suggests these measures are making it harder for Muslims to travel to the United States. The request comes in light of the requesting organizations’ concerns that the administration is using the “‘extreme vetting’ regime as a means of implementing a Muslim ban away from the spotlight of court cases and media coverage.”

The worldwide review, conducted by the Departments of State and Homeland Security as mandated by the executive order, will be used to determine whether the current Muslim ban should be extended indefinitely and whether countries should be added or removed from the banned list. The requesting groups are concerned that, through the worldwide review, “a more permanent Muslim ban is underway without the requisite level of transparency and scrutiny.”

The organizations have requested information to make clear how these processes are being implemented and will release the information to the public after the agencies respond.

The groups and Wadhia are represented by the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP.

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice.

Professor Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, Clinical Professor of Law, and Director, Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Pennsylvania State Law School. Her affiliation is listed for identification purposes only. 

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.