Trump's 'Muslim Ban' Affected Muslim Americans' Health: Yale Study

Stress among Muslim Americans rose during Trump's presidency.

3 min read
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A study taken up by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, published on 30 July, found that former President Trump's executive order of banning Muslims from certain countries to travel to the United States impacted the health of Muslims living in America.

The study measures the "casual impact of how policy changes may affect immigrant and refugee communities". "It provides evidence that an abrupt change in federal immigration policy can directly affect health outcomes among people residing in the United States legally," a Yale press release mentioned.


The Executive Order

On 27 January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning the entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, all predominantly Muslim countries. The order was controversial as it highlighted a clear discrimination against Muslims and was commonly known as "the Muslim Ban".

Amid all the controversy, the order was upheld by the Supreme Court. However, on 20 January 2021, Trump successor's in the White House President Biden revoked the order banning Muslims.

In the announcement of such a revocation, a White House release said, "the previous administration enacted a number of Executive Orders and Presidential Proclamations that prevented certain individuals from entering the United States — first from primarily Muslim countries, and later, from largely African countries.  Those actions are a stain on our national conscience and are inconsistent with our long history of welcoming people of all faiths and no faith at all."


What Was the Study About?

The study aimed at understanding the effects of a 'Muslim ban' on health of residents – Muslims, or Americans tracing their lineage to Muslim nations mentioned in the order – and observe the changes in health trends, including stress responses and missed appointments.

The study was conducted in Minneapolis-St Paul area where we can find the largest Somali Muslim population in the US. It studies three categories of population – people born in nations targeted by the ban, people born in other Muslim majority nations and people born in the US and the frequency of their visits to health centres and causes of these visits. It studied health trends of more than 250,000 adult patients in 2016 and 2017.


What Did it Illustrate?

The study finds that there was an increase in stress-related issues among residents born in Muslim majority nations, both those that were named in the ban and those that were not in 2016, the election year.

"During the 2016 election, the rate of ED visits and stress-responsive diagnoses increased for individuals from Muslim ban-targeted (group 1) and Muslim-majority nations (group 2) before levelling off at a higher utilisation rate in mid to late 2017. In the year after the Muslim ban was issued, ED visits among individuals from Muslim ban–targeted nations significantly increased beyond the increase among US-born non-Latinx individuals," it read.

After the executive order was issued, there was an increase in tendency to miss appointments to primary health centres by people born in Muslim nations not mentioned in the ban as opposed to those born in the US.

"The difference-indifference point estimate for individuals from Muslim-majority nations not targeted in the Muslim ban was 6.73, suggesting that this group missed approximately 101 additional primary care appointments beyond what they would have been expected to miss if following the trend of non-Latinx US-born individuals."


The study concluded that the rise of Trump and later followed by his policies that discriminated against Muslim immigration, especially the Muslim ban, increased stress-related diagnosis among people from Muslim nations living in the Minneapolis-St Paul area, more so for the ones from the seven nations included in the ban.

Yale Associate Professor and author of the study, Gregg Gonsalves said in the Yale paper, "This offers support to the thesis that the Islamophobia fostered by former President Trump affected the health of Muslim-Americans in the United States and that immigration policies can have indirect and unexpected consequences for those targeted by such actions."

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