The Supreme Court on Monday decided to grant Trump’s request to fully reinstate the third version of his controversial travel ban.
This means that the ban will now go fully into effect for people seeking to enter the US from Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Syria, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. Lower courts had previously limited the ban to would-be visitors and immigrants who lacked a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the US.
The ruling is a major win for President Trump, who has been fighting to establish a travel ban since January, and it is the second time SCOTUS has been asked to intervene in the president’s travel restrictions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the ruling a “substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people.”
Trump has repeatedly insisted that a travel ban is necessary to protect the country from Islamic militants, an argument that has earned criticism from immigrants’ rights groups who accuse him of Muslim prejudice.
“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret – he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” argues ACLU lawyer Omar Jadwat, referring to anti-Muslim videos Trump shared recently on Twitter.
The Trump Administration is "not surprised" by the Supreme Court's decision to permit enforcement of Trump's proclamation "limiting travel from countries presenting heightened risks of terrorism," says White House spokesman Hogan Gidley. "The proclamation is lawful and essential to protecting our homeland. We look forward to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts."
The Department of Homeland Security was "pleased" with the Supreme Court's decision and will “continue to fully implement the President’s robust and constitutional counterterrorism agenda in accordance with the law," says DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton. "The Administration’s common sense travel restrictions on countries that do not meet basic security standards and do not share critical information with us about terrorists and criminals are designed to defend the homeland and keep Americans safe."
As Solicitor General Noel Francisco has argued, the new ban is based on a “worldwide review of the information shared by foreign governments that is used to screen aliens seeking entry to the US.”
President Trump issued his first travel ban during his second week in office. He issued a second, revised ban after the initial ban was blocked by federal courts. The third iteration of the ban was issued following the expiration of the second ban in mid-September. The latest ban removes Sudan from the list and adds North Korea, Chad, and certain officials from Venezuela.
The lower courts fought back against the ban, but not as it applied to North Korea or Venezuela.
Hawaii attorney Neal Katyal criticized the ban as a “flagrant example of discrimination because of nationality.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from Hawaii on Wednesday and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments from the ACLU on Friday. The Supreme Court’s ruling will stay in effect regardless of what the two courts decide, at least until SCOTUS decides whether to take up the issue on the merits.
“We agree a speedy resolution is needed for the sake of our universities, our businesses, and most of all, for people marginalized by this unlawful order,” says Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin.
SCOTUS is likely to revisit the case following rulings from the two appeals courts, but Monday’s decision suggests they will uphold the ban.