90 Miles From Tyranny : Trump Lands Big Win as Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Trump Lands Big Win as Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban

The Trump administration got a big win Tuesday when, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Trump v. Hawaii upholding the so-called travel ban.

Under the ban, President Donald Trump has suspended, at least temporarily, the admission of individuals from seven countries—Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela—subject to case-by-case waivers.

The travel ban was challenged by the state of Hawaii, three individuals, and the Muslim Association of Hawaii, who argued that Trump exceeded his authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act. They also claimed his proclamation of the travel ban violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment because it was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, not by national security concerns.

The president’s proclamation explained the rigorous process the administration went through in determining which countries to include on the list. It describes how the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security created a baseline of criteria for countries to meet and measured nearly 200 countries against that baseline.

At the end of this process, the administration found 16 countries to be deficient and 31 other countries “at risk.” This began a period of engagement with each of those governments to address deficiencies, after which the administration compiled its final list.

The president’s proclamation also explained the reasons why the remaining countries were still on the list. They share some combination of these characteristics: Some are state sponsors of terrorism, some are safe havens for terrorists, some refuse to cooperate with us, and some lack the institutional capacity to cooperate effectively with us.

The proclamation was neutral on its face regarding religion and applied to people of all faiths. And although five of the seven designated countries are majority-Muslim countries (out of 49 such countries around the world), the president stated that these countries were included for national security reasons: Either they are safe havens for terrorists or they are unwilling or unable “to share or validate important information about individuals” needed to...
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