NEW: Our photo series, #HomeNotHeartbreak tells the stories of families impacted by the prison-to-deportation pipeline. They share with us their experiences, hopes, joy, and why CA urgently needs the #VISIONAct.

No Muslim Ban Ever

October 1, 2021 Perspective


Hammad Alam

Hammad Alam

Staff Attorney & Program Manager, National Security & Civil Rights

Hammad Alam

Staff Attorney & Program Manager, National Security & Civil Rights

Hammad Alam is a Staff Attorney and Program Manager in the National Security and Civil Rights program at Asian Law Caucus. Hammad’s work focuses on, among other things, the federal Countering Violent Extremism program and state of California’s directly linked Preventing Violent Extremism and other similar surveillance and criminalization programs targeting Muslim and other immigrant and communities of color.

Hammad has helped lead coalitions against both of these programs, helping devise strategy engaging policy advocacy, community organizing, and the law to place pressure on government actors to defund and dismantle these harmful programs. Most recently, as part of the NoPVEinCA Coalition, Hammad led a statewide campaign to defund PVE in California, successfully blocking the harmful program from receiving state funding to staff and operate it.

In addition to anti-surveillance and anti-policing work, Hammad also drives NSCR’s work against the Muslim Ban, through both litigation and ALC’s participation as a core member of the No Muslim Ban Ever campaign. Hammad comes to ALC with prior federal litigation experience and served as a law clerk in the Eastern District of California. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

“This can destroy a human being. I’m not an emotional guy but it distracted and destroyed me."

Ramez Alghazzouli

Alghazzouli, who is Syrian American, was torn apart from his wife Asmaa for years when the Trump administration enacted the Muslim Ban. After years of relentless legal advocacy, Asmaa received her visa and was able to travel to the U.S. Today, Ramez and Asmaa are two of the countless people whose lives have been upended by the plainly xenophobic and Islamophobic policy.

The Trump administration signed the first Muslim Ban in January 2017, banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days, the entry of all refugees for 120 days, and indefinitely banning the entry of all Syrian refugees indefinitely. The ban was expanded in January 2020 to include an additional six countries, many of them African countries, a version referred to broadly as the “African Ban.”

Both the Muslim and African Bans had the same discriminatory intention of banning Muslims from entering the U.S., and each version was immediately followed by legal challenges. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court refused to acknowledge Trump’s blatant racism when it allowed Muslim and African Ban 3.0 to go into full effect on June 26, 2018.

Together, the Bans affected community members from 13 different countries–even if they lived and worked in the US and had spouses, children, parents, or other family in the country–and perpetuated deep-rooted xenophobia. The Bans restricted travel to the U.S. from Yemen, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, North Korea and Venezuela–banning a population of over 135 million people.

Watch the No Muslim Ban Ever’s video series -- “Cooking Under the Ban” -- where families impacted by the Bans share their personal stories along with favorite recipes from their home countries.

We are proud to have been one of four core organizations leading the No Muslim Ban Ever coalition, which represents over 100 Muslim and immigrants’ rights groups. Along with CAIR-SFBA, MPower Change, and National Immigration Law Center, we met with the Biden transition team and sent them recommendations on what a full repeal should look like. As part of the coalition, we worked to challenge Trump’s white supremacist agenda in national conversation, and work in solidarity with communities of color who have been harmed by racism and xenophobia in U.S. federal policies, even long before Donald Trump became President.

READ: Opinion: Biden vowed to repeal Trump’s Muslim ban. That should be just the start. by ALC’s Aarti Kohli and Hammad Alam

Although President Biden signed an executive order to overturn the Bans in his first few days in office, in part due to the coalition’s tireless advocacy and work to bring light to the stories of impacted individuals, our fight continues to support those who were harmed by the Bans, and to make sure a horrific policy like this and all others that racially profile Black and AMEMSA communities does not happen again.

In our recent memo, we called on the Biden administration and policymakers across the country to dismantle the post-9/11 national security frameworks driving the policies covered in the memo and commit to repairing the harms they have inflicted.

Our demands:

  • The DOJ should dismantle the JTTF, all of its field offices and collaborative networks, including with state and local agencies and those established internationally, and any future such iterations that may go by other names;
  • Establish a Congressional Commission or Congressional hearings led by impacted and targeted communities to evaluate and remedy the harms and impacts of federal surveillance programs.
  • End all DHS, FBI, and DOJ programs based on the “radicalization theory” and the use of community-policing frameworks designed to counter or prevent so-called “radicalization;"
  • Call for a Congressional Commission to review the impacts of the “War on Terror” on U.S. human rights and civil rights;
  • DHS should review existing guidance or policy outlining bases for watchlist placement, with particular focus on bases or factors disproportionately impacting BAMEMSA communities.

For our full list of recommendations, please refer to the memo.

The No Muslim Ban Ever campaign is urging the Senate to pass the historic NO BAN Act.

This bill is just one effort of the coalition to end criminalization and expand sanctuary for the Muslim and more broadly Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities.

The first-ever Muslim Civil Rights Bill, if passed, would limit U.S. immigration law so that no future president can single-handedly issue bans that bar immigrants based on their national origin or religion. You can take action and urge your representatives to pass the bill today!