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  • Supreme Court partially reinstates Trump travel ban
  • The US Supreme Court on Monday partially
    reinstated President Donald Trump’s
    controversial travel ban targeting citizens from
    six predominantly Muslim countries, before
    examining the case in full this autumn.
    The Trump administration’s ban — put on hold
    by lower court rulings — can be enforced for
    travellers from the targeted countries “who lack
    any bona fide relationship with a person or
    entity in the United States,” until the court hears
    the case in October, the justices ruled.
    The court tempered its ruling by saying the ban
    could not be implemented for now against
    people who have personal links to the United
    States, citing the examples of foreign nationals
    wishing to visit family or students accepted to
    attend a university.
    But the Supreme Court’s decision nonetheless
    marks a win for the Republican leader, who has
    insisted the ban is necessary for national
    security, despite criticism that it singles out
    Muslims in violation of the US constitution.
    Trump had suffered a series of stinging judicial
    setbacks over the ban, with two federal appeals
    courts maintaining injunctions on it.
    Those courts had argued the president had
    overstepped his authority, and that his executive
    order discriminated against travelers based on
    their nationality.
    Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil
    Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project
    who argued one of the appellate cases brought
    against the ban, said he hoped the court’s
    decision would mark a step towards ending an
    “indefensible and discriminatory ban.”
    “The Supreme Court now has a chance to
    permanently strike it down,” Jadwat said in a
    statement.
    Trump’s revised measure, announced in March,
    seeks to bar from US entry travelers from Iran,
    Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90
    days, as well as suspend the entry of refugees
    for 120 days.
    The original measure, issued by executive order
    in January and almost immediately blocked by
    the courts, also included Iraq on the list of
    targeted countries and had imposed an indefinite
    ban on Syrian refugees.
    – Discrimination –
    In an ruling earlier this month, the three justices
    of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that
    “immigration, even for the president, is not a
    one-person show.”
    “National security is not a ‘talismanic
    incantation’ that, once invoked, can support any
    and all exercise of executive power,” they
    added.
    The Supreme Court narrowed the scope of the
    injunctions on the ban, saying the government
    could enforce its measure against “foreign
    nationals unconnected to the United States”
    without causing injury to the parties who filed
    suit.
    Trump’s travel ban’s legal woes had left in
    limbo a key campaign promise by the
    Republican to crack down on immigration from
    Muslim countries.
    The countries targeted were on a list from the
    previous Obama administration of places where
    the governments had very poor data on their
    own citizens, making it difficult to vet the
    identities of visa applicants.
    The Trump administration says the ban is
    needed to prevent terror attacks in the country,
    and that it needs the time allowed by the ban to
    evaluate existing screening protocols and set
    new ones.
    But courts ruled that because it applied
    selectively to mainly Muslim countries, the ban
    violated the US Constitution’s ban on religious
    discrimination.
    While the ban itself did not single out Muslims,
    the judges cited Trump’s repeated statements
    during last year’s presidential race that he
    intended to ban Muslims from entering the
    United States.
    – ‘Extreme vetting’ –
    After the initial legal setback for the ban, the
    White House slightly revised the order. It deleted
    Iraq from the list and removed an indefinite ban
    on Syrian refugees.
    But that too was shot down by courts in March.
    The Justice Department filed an emergency
    application to the Supreme Court on June 1,
    urging it to undo two lower court rulings. The
    White House argued that the US president has
    the power to set immigration policy, especially
    on national security grounds.
    Even without the ban in place, arrivals from the
    six countries has dropped sharply, in part due to
    the “extreme vetting” approach of US authorities,
    toughening their scrutiny of visa applicants.
    Arrivals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria
    and Yemen were down by nearly half in March
    and April from a year ago — 6,372 for the two
    months compared to 12,100 in 2016, according
    to recent official data.

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