When Donald Trump enacted the “Travel-Ban-Specifically-Aimed-at-Seven-Muslim-Majority-Countries-but-Since-It-Only-Targets-15%-of-the-World’s-Muslims-it’s-not-a-Muslim-Ban” Muslim Ban, much of the backlash was countered by conservatives arguing that Barrack (Saddam?!) Hussein Obama was far more restrictive on Muslim refugees and immigration.
Trump himself likened the Ban to Obama’s 2011 freeze on Iraqi refugees, but to evaluate whether it’s an apt comparison or not, here are the facts (non-alternative form). In 2011, Obama placed a six-month hold on the processing of visas for Iraqi refugees. (It should be noted that the hold was not all-encompassing; refugees from Iraq entered the United States throughout 2011. However, a five-month period from August to December saw a sharp decline in admitted Iraqi refugees).
Also, Obama’s embargo was aimed to address a specific incident: KellyAnne Conway cited the tragic Bowling Green Massacre, which didn’t happen. The alleged massacre was supposedly carried out by Iraqi refugees against the innocent citizens of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Conway said it was horrifically underreported by the biased mainstream news.
The real Bowling Green incident involved two Iraqi refugees and a failed plot to send explosives to al-Qaida. The men were arrested, and local and national media covered the story.
Trump’s recent executive order on refugees also claims that the seven countries were selected from a list compiled by the Obama Administration. The Obama Administration did restrict visa waivers to people who had visited those countries, but not those of their citizens.
All of this has increased scrutiny regarding Obama’s immigration record. While Obama protected 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, he also deported roughly 2.8 million, the most of any president ever.
Under Obama, the sweeping immigration reform that was promised never came, and many illegal immigrants from Central America were left unprotected by the federal government. However, Obama never issued a refugee/legal immigration ban akin to Trump’s, and he never directly targeted the seven countries listed in Trump’s executive order.