Vice’s Latest Manufactured “Travel Ban” Hysteria

Vice, the online media giant, isn’t known for doing objective, balanced journalism. It’s more of a pop-culture pastiche – running stories about underwear with a built-in video game controller and guys who struggle with “toxic masculinity” (which sounds like the name of a gym shoe deodorant).

However, it’s new piece “The Nightmare of Trying to Get Around Trump’s Latest Travel Ban” sets new standards for hyperbolic lunacy. The article purports to tell the story of Omid, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois who was negatively affected by “the ban.” In reality, it’s just a blatant attempt at fueling hysteria over what appears to be a settled question of law.

8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) specifically authorizes the president to temporarily suspend the entry of any alien, or class of aliens, whose admission he deems detrimental to the interests of the United States. Based on that authorization, the Supreme Court has repeatedly overruled lower court orders blocking the implementation of the temporary moratoria on visa issuance to certain individuals from several Muslim-majority countries. In addition, the high court has stated that it will rule on the constitutionality of the so-called “travel ban” following hearings in April 2018.

Allegedly, Omid – who is never identified by anything other than his alleged Iranian citizenship and status as a student – had a brother who was killed in an accident at work. Believing they would qualify for a hardship waiver, Omid’s parents applied for a visa to attend their younger son’s funeral. Their request was denied.

According to Vice, and the open-borders ideologues they quote, the fact that the Department of State denies waiver requests at a high rate is evidence that the Trump administration is implementing a “de facto Muslim ban in violation of our Constitution and our immigration laws.”

Of course, that’s a shockingly misleading assertion from an organization with journalistic pretensions. As noted above Congress specifically authorized the President to implement temporary moratoria on the admission of foreign nationals. So, there isn’t any violation of our immigration laws. And the Supreme Court has neither overturned 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), nor allowed the president’s actions pursuant to it to be enjoined by lower courts. So that section of the law remains presumptively constitutional.

And what Vice declines to mention may be more important than what it actually does cover: Before any of the Trump executive orders relating to travel were ever implemented, nearly half of all visa requests made by Iranians were refused by the Department of State. That’s because the U.S. government has repeatedly designated Iran as the top state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Most Americans would agree that Omid’s situation is certainly sad. Many Americans have lost relatives who chose to live abroad and, because of geopolitical events, were unable to grieve with their kin. However, the real nightmare is trying to vet Iranian visa applicants. The Iranian government is not interested in helping the United States protect its national security and, in 2013, the Pentagon estimated that Iran was running a spy network in the United States that involved at least 30,000 people.

In the future, Vice might want to make sure that its chronic dislike of Donald Trump doesn’t get in the way of the facts. Although serious coverage of geopolitical events may be a bridge too far for a publication that considers gamer’s undies and toxic snowflakes front page news.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    If there is anyone who deserves entry here it’s the Christians in Muslim countries who are constant targets of violence and ethnic cleansing. Every Muslim country is regressive, violent, misogynist, and authoritative. The old saying is if the shoe fits wear it. How under any definition of the word are these people a positive for this country. The worst part is the leftists who bash religions here, frequently deservedly, but turn around and insist that Islam “must be respected” even though most of them have a 15th century mentality. You earn respect you are not owed it.

  2. avatar

    Them’s the breaks. How did the ‘brother’ get into the US, anyway, if we’re so ‘racist?’

    • avatar

      During the occupation of the former president many Iranians were allowed visas. He was and is a believer in the Muslim faith.