Trump’s new travel ban: U-M experts available

March 6, 2017
Nardy Baeza Bickel


President Trump has signed a revised executive order that will halt America’s refugee program and temporarily ban the entry of people coming from six Muslim-majority countries (down from seven with the removal of Iraq from the restricted list). University experts are available to discuss:

Margo Schlanger, the Henry M. Butzel Professor of Law, is a leading authority on civil rights issues and served as the officer for civil rights and civil liberties in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Expect lots of litigation to continue: the new travel ban is tainted by all the same evidence of religious discrimination that doomed the old travel ban,” she said. “It affects fewer people, and people with fewer ties to the United States, so that makes judicial intervention a bit harder. On the other hand, it’s clear the Trump Administration timed and shaped the new ban based on the news cycle—which undermines any presidential demand for deference on the topic of national security.”


Richard Friedman, the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law, is an expert on evidence and U.S. Supreme Court history.

“The new executive order removes some of the obvious vulnerabilities of the prior one,” he said. “First, it does not apply to persons who already had a right to enter the United States. Second, it gives explicit preference to religious minorities. Third, it removes Iraq from the list of seven countries, suggesting that the administration has paid some attention to facts on the ground. Fourth, it no longer creates a permanent ban on travel from Syria. And fifth, it postpones effectiveness to allow a more orderly rollout.

“But the order is not immune to challenge. The president cannot escape the history behind this order, which indicated a desire to prevent Muslim entry to the U.S. Subsequent events have suggested that, realizing this was impossible, he continues to try to achieve as much of it as he can. And the order is still subject to attack as arbitrary and capricious, given the lack of history of terrorist attacks on the U.S. by people from the list of six countries. One may also wonder why, if the government needed a temporary halt on travel in January to improve vetting procedures, the time periods in the new order are the same as in the first. Has it been sitting on its hands all these weeks?”

Contact: 734-476-4586,

Richard Primus, the Theodore J. St. Antoine Collegiate Professor of Law, is an expert in the law, history and theory of the U.S. Constitution and a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Contact: 734-647-5543,

Juan Cole, the Richard P. Mitchell Professor of History and director of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, studies the ongoing political change in the Middle East.

“There are many non-Muslim failed states embroiled in conflict situations that are not on the exclusion list of the six countries,” he said. “I conclude that since all of these six countries are Muslim-majority, this executive order is still a Muslim ban.”

Contact: 734-764-6305,

Evelyn Alsultany, associate professor and director of Arab and Muslim American Studies, is author of “Arabs and Muslims in the Media.” She is an organizer of the Islamophobia Working Group at U-M and teaches courses on Islamophobia, racism and 9/11.

“While the administration continues to claim that this is not a Muslim ban, the rise in hate crimes indicates that regardless of how the administration spins it, the travel ban sends a clear message that Muslims are a terrorist threat to the United States,” she said. “Portraying Islam as a monolithic religion that promotes terrorism is both inaccurate and dangerous. It endangers American Muslims and dehumanizes Muslim refugees who are already in an incredibly vulnerable position.”


Manan Desai, assistant professor of American culture, examines how 20th century popular cultural and middlebrow representations of South Asian Americans shaped understandings of empire and race in the U.S. He is also member of the board of directors of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

Contact: 734-615-2524,