The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the latest version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban to take effect, overturning a lower court’s temporary order that created an exemption for foreigners with credible ties to the United States.
The nation’s highest court provided no explanation in lifting the previous restrictions, but it said Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have denied the Trump administration’s request. Monday’s decision does not end legal challenges which continue in lower courts.
The travel ban stems from a proclamation issued on September 24 in which Trump banned the entry of visitors from Chad, Iran (except students), Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen. He also ordered additional scrutiny for visitors from Somalia and banned the entry of some government officials from Venezuela.
A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide restraining order on October 17 to block the travel ban from taking effect, arguing that the order discriminates based on nationality and lacks supporting evidence to justify the measures. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later allowed the ban to take effect, except for foreigners who have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship” to the United States.
The orders did not block the ban for citizens of North Korea and some officials from Venezuela.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the administration was “not surprised” by Monday’s decision. “The proclamation is lawful and essential to protecting our homeland,” he said. “We look forward to presenting a fuller defense of the proclamation as the pending cases work their way through the courts.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hailed the court’s decision as a “substantial victory” for the safety and security of the American people. “The Constitution gives the President the responsibility and power to protect this country from all threats foreign and domestic, and this order remains vital to accomplishing those goals,” he said.
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii had previously stated that he believed the order violates multiple provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. “[Executive Order 3] suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States,'” he said.
But the White House called Watson’s assessment “dangerously flawed” and said his order undercut the president’s efforts to enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States. It argued that the travel restrictions were the result of an “extensive worldwide security review.”
“The entry restrictions in the proclamation apply to countries based on their inability or unwillingness to share critical information necessary to safely vet applications, as well as a threat assessment related to terrorism, instability, and other grave national security concerns,” it said at the time.
Trump’s first travel ban caused chaos and protests at airports until judges moved to block it, after which the president issued a second order to address some of the legal concerns. Judges also blocked the second ban, but the U.S. Supreme Court eventually decided to partially reinstate the order, which banned visitors from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
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