By the numbers
The number of nonimmigrant visas issued to people in Muslim-majority countries declined steeply in April, Politico reported after analyzing data posted this week by the State Department. In nearly 50 Muslim-majority countries, 20 percent fewer nonimmigrant visas were issued in April compared to the monthly average issued in 2016. These drop-offs were noted in spite of the fact that President Trump's immigration executive order, which temporarily bans travel from multiple Muslim-majority countries, is held up in court.
In the six countries — Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — affected by Trump's second immigration executive order, the number of nonimmigrant visas plummeted 55 percent in April compared to last year's averages. In just Arab countries, nonimmigrant visas dropped almost 30 percent in April.
William Cocks, a spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, argued that visa demand "is cyclical" and "not uniform throughout the year," but three immigration experts told Politico the declines likely weren't purely coincidental. "Some people may have canceled trips," said immigration lawyer Stephen Pattison. "Some people may have traveled last year but not this year. But I think it would be naive to assume that’s what's going on in Washington isn't having an effect on consular adjudications."
The State Department did not publish the number of visa applications submitted or rejected, so Politico was unable to extrapolate whether the drops were because the U.S. government is denying more visa applicants, or because fewer people want to visit Trump's America.
Read more about the effects of Trump's travel ban in Muslim-majority countries — and worldwide — at Politico.