Response to Reader: Obama Iraqi Ban of 2011?


Question from a concerned reader of Millennial & Political: “In your latest blog post “The Truth Behind Trump’s Latest Executive Orders”, you call Trump’s ban on refugees ‘completely unprecedented’ and ineffective, but didn’t President Obama do the same thing when he banned Iraqi refugees in 2011? What’s the difference?”

Dear reader,

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest post and engage with the information. Millennial & Political is meant to be a resource to provide the truth, not to spread partisan propaganda. Therefore, I appreciate your feedback and will post my response in efforts to stimulate a positive, important discussion.

When Trump announced his controversial executive order, he stated “My policy is similar to what President Obama did in 2011 when he banned visas for refugees from Iraq for six months”. After, a number of other web sources, like Breitbart and Herald Sun, came forward calling the media hypocritical for not taking the same critical stance when President Obama paused the Iraqi refugee program.

The fact is Trump’s executive order is nothing like the Obama Administration’s actions of 2011. Trump’s executive order prohibits permanent residents and legal visa holders from seven predominantly Muslim countries, bans Syrian refugees indefinitely, and pauses the entire refugee program for the next four months. In addition, his executive order prioritizes the intake of Christian refugees. On the other hand, the Obama administration merely paused the Iraqi refugee program for six months in efforts to strengthen the screening process. The actions taken did not affect permanent residents or visa-holders, did not prioritize intake on a religious basis, and did not ban refugees indefinitely.

Moreover, the Obama Administration’s actions were taken to resolve a national security problem, brought forth by a case in Kentucky, where it was discovered that several dozen suspected Al-Qaeda members were living in the US as refugees. By halting the Iraqi refugee program, the Obama Administration was then able to focus on solving the failures of the screening process . They significantly strengthened the screening process, added a number of new rules, vetted the biometric databases, and included all of the National Counter Terrorism Center databases in order to protect the country. While there were complications and upsets as less refugees from Iraq arrived in our country during 2011 and the visa and residency approval processes were significantly slowed down, this pause was extremely effective and provided us with a more scrutinizing process to prevent threats from coming into our country.

Conclusively, the primary difference between the two executive actions is that the Obama administration put effective structures into place to protect the country without demonizing or targeting marginalized communities, while the Trump administration has put ineffective and somewhat dangerous policies into play that recklessly target communities as well as set legal precedent to legitimize Islamophobia and xenophobia.

Thank you again for engaging with the information and using your voice.



Founder and Writer of Millennial & Political

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