This image states that:

Trump is poised to sign an Executive Order banning entry to the United States from These 7 Muslim contries:

Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia

Conspicious in their absence, are the 3 Muslim countries with which Trump does business:

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey

Saudi Arabia was home for 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. Saudis aren't banned from entering the US but war-weary Syrians are.

enter image description here

Are the claims from this image accurate?


2 Answers 2


Yes the facts are accurate, but the implication of causation is questionable.

President Trump did sign an executive order banning the citizens of Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia from entering the US for 90 days. Here is a CNN article that gives the details.

It's also true that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are not on the list.

The full text of the executive order can be seen here.

Since Trump has not released his taxes, it's hard to know exactly what his financial dealings are, but it does appear he has some financial interests in those 3 countries. For more details read this article by the New York Daily News.

From the article:

In Turkey:

Trump also currently licenses his name to two luxury towers in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul. He received as much as $5 million from the deals last year, according to his latest financial disclosures. Furthermore, since the election, Trump’s development partner, Dogan Sirketler Grubu Holding, has seen its shares surge by nearly 11%.

In Egypt:

His [Trump's] latest Federal Election Commission filing lists two companies in the country, Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC, both of which are most likely connected to a development venture.

In Saudi Arabia:

Trump registered eight companies tied to hotel interests in the country shortly after launching his campaign in August 2015, according to The Washington Post. The companies were registered under such names as THC Jeddah Hotel and DT Jeddah Technical Services...

Additional info on the SA companies from the WP:

Their names followed a pattern set by Trump companies connected to hotel deals in foreign cities: in this case, Jiddah, the second-biggest city in Saudi Arabia.

Four of those companies, in which Trump was named president or director, remained active at the time of Trump’s May financial filing. The disclosures do not provide more detail for the companies, and Trump representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

But we can't infer causation, as we have no way of knowing why he picked some countries but not others, without him stating the reason. That being in mind, it's important to mention that the list of 7 countries was originally drafted by the Obama administration:

In February 2016, the Obama administration added Libya, Somali and Yemen to the list of countries one could not have visited — but allowed dual citizens of those countries who had not traveled there access to the Visa Waiver Program. Dual citizens of Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Iran are still ineligible, however.

So, in a nutshell, Obama restricted visa waivers for those seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen — and now, Trump is looking to bar immigration and visitors from the same list of countries.

  • 40
    Some have noted that a 2015 law (Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015) requires people who have recently traveled to those 7 countries to apply for a visa, rather than being eligible for entry without having obtained a visa in advance. (Of course, "these people have to apply for a visa who previously didn't" is an entirely different policy from "these people are denied entry, even if they have already applied for and received a visa")
    – ff524
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 5:28
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    I've edited your post to make it a bit more neutral and include a relevant fact about who selected the original 7 countries. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 12:41
  • 21
    "The facts are accurate, but the conclusion is in question." isn't that basically politics in a nutshell?
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 19:09
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    It's worth noting that while 9/11 is referenced multiple times in the order, all of the countries the hijackers came from are excluded. This isn't an argument for expanding the order, rather cutting a leg out from a stated justification. It's also worth noting that Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are US allies (though so is Iraq).
    – Schwern
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 22:15
  • 15
    Turkey is in NATO. It couldn't be in any such list, without serious damage to the USA-Turkey relationships. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 9:34

The statements in the meme are generally correct, but there is no evidence to support the implication that those countries were excluded because of Trump's business interests.

The answer to the title question is, no, Trump didn't exclude those countries (nor did he or his administration explicitly include or exclude any other countries.)

The relevant section of the executive order signed by Trump (Section 3(c),) did not actually list any countries at all for the entry ban. Instead, it applied to a list of countries that has already existed under U.S. law for several years and was most recently updated a bit under a year ago by the Obama administration.

Section 3(c) reads (emphasis mine):

(c) To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas).

8 USC 1187(a)(12) defines countries whose nationals are explicitly excluded from the U.S. Visa Waiver Program due to terrorism-related concerns. Iraq and Syria are explicitly included in this list by law. The other countries on the list are designated by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security due to terrorism-related concerns in those countries.

The most recent update to this list of countries prior to Trump's executive order was issued by President Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security on February 18, 2016, just under a year prior to Trump's executive order.

8 USC 1187(a)(12)(A) provides that the Secretary of State may designate to this list any country "the government of which has repeatedly provided support of acts of international terrorism."

8 USC 1187(a)(12)(D) provides the authority for the Secretary of Homeland Security to add countries (or areas) to this list:

(D) Countries or areas of concern

(i) In general

Not later than 60 days after December 18, 2015, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall determine whether the requirement under subparagraph (A) shall apply to any other country or area.

(ii) Criteria In making a determination under clause (i), the Secretary shall consider—

(I) whether the presence of an alien in the country or area increases the likelihood that the alien is a credible threat to the national security of the United States;

(II) whether a foreign terrorist organization has a significant presence in the country or area; and

(III) whether the country or area is a safe haven for terrorists.

(iii) Annual review

The Secretary shall conduct a review, on an annual basis, of any determination made under clause (i).

Regarding the meme's statement that "conspicuous in their absence are the 3 Muslim countries with which Trump does business":

While the meme doesn't explicitly define what it considers to be a "Muslim country," if we define "Muslim countries" to mean "majority-Muslim countries," according to Wikipedia's list of Islam by Country, there are approximately 52 such countries or territories, 45 of which are absent from Department of Homeland Security's list.

The three excluded countries listed in the meme are hardly alone among Muslim-majority in being absent from the list, nor is their absence particularly 'conspicuous.' There are a number of other Muslim-majority countries in which terrorism concerns are more widespread than in any of those three countries which are also absent from the list, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example.

  • 2
    @ChrisR The ban was authorized under a separate law (8 USC 1182(f)) which does indeed authorize outright entry bans. But, yes, the effect of Section 3(c) of the EO was to change the status of people 'from' the countries on the 1187(a)(12) list from simply not being eligible for entry under the Visa Waiver Program to not being eligible for entry at all.
    – reirab
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 22:39
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    This is the crucial distinction. Surprised it isn't the top answer, but oh well.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:38
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    The Trump order used the existing list, but Trump chose to use that list, didn't he? Presumably the executive order could also have been written to apply to a different set of countries, had Trump seen fit to do so. So I don't think we can absolve him of all choice in the matter. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 0:40
  • 1
    This is not an answer because it does not address the claims.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 2:38
  • 2
    You are saying "[the memes'] implication that those countries were excluded because of Trump's business interests isn't [correct]." Just because he didn't alter an existing list that happened to not include countries he has business interests with does not mean that the absence of those countries did not factor in to his decision to use that list instead of attempting to create a new one.
    – Beofett
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:11

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