Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



International Migration Studies


Monica W. Varsanyi

Subject Categories

Migration Studies


Immigration, Exclusion, Travel Ban, Citizenship, Plenary Power, Otherization, Non-citizens, Minorities, Muslim Americans


The Muslim Travel Ban emerged as an explicitly discriminatory policy when former President Trump signed Executive Order 13769 on January 27, 2017. The first version of the Ban suspended the entry of travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries into the United States. After several iterations, the third version of the ban was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 26, 2018, and only rescinded by a Presidential Executive Order issued by President Joe Biden on January 20, 2021. Although the Ban received significant media attention, it was analyzed by only a few scholarly works utilizing legal and discursive approaches. This thesis traces the Muslim Travel Ban back to Trump's electoral promises and examines the legal precedents of excluding specific immigrant groups under national security frameworks. Furthermore, it examines the Ban's impacts on targeted groups by thematically analyzing published narratives using Atlas.ti software. This thesis situates the Travel Ban within the history of anti-immigrant policies and the otherization of various immigrant groups while remaining focused on Muslims' experiences of otherness. It illuminates how the Ban was created, despite there being any actual crisis or political urgency making it necessary or justifiable. The thesis also presents an analytical framework outlining three paradigms of Muslim otherness (Orientalism, The Clash of Civilizations, and the War on Terror) to specifically demonstrate how the Ban corresponded and contradicted the War on Terror. It thus clarifies how the Muslim Travel Ban's exclusionist logic of "bad Muslim only" undermined the targeted group's attempts to prove legal status, deservingness, and innocence.