Press Releases

CAIR, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, NIAC Action Successfully Mobilize Community to Oppose Trump’s ‘Backdoor Muslim Ban’

Groups facilitate submission of more than 1,800 public comments

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 10/2/17) – Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and NIAC Action (sister organization to the National Iranian American Council) today announced that their coordinated campaign during the public comment period for the Trump administration’s “Backdoor Muslim ban” was successful. 

Since launching in early September, the three organizations helped facilitate more than 1,800 comments against this policy by organizing the community to use their web portals, which remain open through the end of the comment period tonight.

SEE: Comment re DS Form Number DS-5535, OMB Control Number 1405-0226, “Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants”

If approved, this policy would allow the Trump administration to continue to gather huge amounts of personal data about visa applicants, including social media history from the past five years and travel history for the past fifteen years, simply to justify rejecting Muslim applicants.  

“For decades, our communities have witnessed a continual erosion of our civil and human rights,” said CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert McCaw. “From registries and profiling to regular harassment, we have endured these attacks on our rights and our humanity. This comment period was an opportunity to stand up to all anti-Muslim policies that have tried to silence us and to speak up for our values as a community, and as a country.”

“Our community wants what any other community would want: the freedom to proudly express our identities freely and without fear of discrimination,” said Shayan Modarres, Legal Counsel for NIAC Action. “This policy of extreme vetting based on national origin and religious belief is discriminatory, unconstitutional and not the country we should be.”

“This administration has shown time and again that enacting a Muslim Ban by any possible means is their flagship policy,” said Christina Sinha, a National Security Staff Attorney with Advancing Justice.  “Changing the policy’s packaging does not change what is inside -and what is inside is a backdoor attempt to institute yet another unconstitutional Muslim Ban.”

The web portals were set up in order to assist affected communities, and the general public, in submitting their comments about this proposal by providing a platform to make their voices heard.  The groups conducted community outreach to alert the community about the plan; created a video in several different languages to help explain the government’s proposal; encouraged people to comment; joined a Coalition of civil and human rights organizations in opposing the policy; and filed their own organization comments.    

The comment period remains open through today, and community members are strongly encouraged to get in their comments today if they have not already done so.

Advancing Justice, CAIR, and NIAC Action are committed to combating the Backdoor Muslim Ban and every attempt by the Trump Administration to target the Muslim community.  No matter its iteration, our communities will rise up to demand #NoMuslimBanEver.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all.  Its members are: Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Advancing Justice-AAJC, and Advancing Justice-Chicago.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.  Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

NIAC Action is the grassroots, civic action organization advancing peace and championing the priorities of the Iranian-American community.

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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