The List: NJ and Administration’s Travel Ban on ‘Mostly Muslim’ Countries

Colleen O'Dea | March 13, 2017 | The List
New Jersey is home to about 9,500 people that the Trump administration’s new ban could seek to keep out

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A new federal travel ban is set to take effect this week for people seeking to come to the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries that some 9,500 New Jerseyans hail from.

This ban, unveiled last Monday, replaces one imposed in January that was blocked by the federal courts. It puts a 90-day ban on issuing new visas for residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as suspending the refugee program for four months. The new executive order differs in several ways from the earlier one. For instance, it only stops new visas from being issued, allows certain people to apply for a waiver based on individual circumstances, and removes Iraq from the list of banned countries.

It is unclear whether the new ban will be blocked by the courts. Six states — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Washington — have sued to block it, with some arguing that it hurts residents and the economy, others saying it would affect tourism, and still others saying it is actually a ban on Muslims and, as such, is unconstitutional.

New Jersey is not challenging the ban; it is home to about 9,500 people who trace their ancestry to five of the six blocked countries, according to U.S. Census data. The Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey estimates that about 8,500 people in the state cited their ancestry as Syrian, Iranian, or Somalian. An analysis of 2015 ACS data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS-USA) at the University of Minnesota shows an estimated 917 reporting their ancestry as Yemeni and 57 as Sudanese. Numbers for those of Libyan heritage were not available. The five-year ACS estimated 277 people from Iraq, which was not included in the revised travel ban, were living in New Jersey in 2011 to 2015.

These are the New Jersey counties with the largest numbers of people declaring ancestry from the five banned countries for which data was available. In addition to the overall estimates are ranges by country that account for margins of error:

1. Bergen County

An estimated 2,069 people had ancestries in three countries: between 646 and 1,114 Syrians, between 389 and 1,067 Iranians, and about 461 Yemenis.

2. Passaic County

Approximately 1,469 reported heritages from three countries: between 831 and 1,751 Syrians, between 24 and 218 Iranians, and an estimated 57 Sudanese.

3. Monmouth County

An estimated 1,190 declared ancestries from two countries: between 604 and 1,272 Syrians and between 57 and 447 Iranians.

4. Essex County

Approximately 840 had ancestries from four countries: between 103 and 377 Syrians, between 47 and 201 Iranians, as many as 50 Somalis, and about 456 Yemenis.

5. Morris County

An estimated 630 people reported heritages from two countries: between 261 and 501 Syrians and between 117 and 381 Iranians.

6. Middlesex County

Approximately 558 people declared ancestries from two countries: between 197 and 507 Syrians and between 101 and 311 Iranians.

7. Ocean County

An estimated 441 people had ancestries from two countries: between 160 and 524 Syrians and between three and 195 Iranians.

8. Union County

Approximately 370 reported heritages from three countries: between 58 and 296 Syrians, between 22 and 258 Iranians, and as many as 138 Somalis.

9. Somerset County

An estimated 363 declared ancestries from two countries: between 33 and 135 Syrians and between 66 and 492 Iranians.

10. Hudson County

Approximately 339 had ancestries from two countries: between 45 and 189 Syrians and between 123 and 321 Iranians.