The U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban restricting people from Muslim countries from traveling to the United States. In a close 5-4 ruling, the decision represents a victory for the administration that faced over a year of problems legalizing Trump’s immigration policy.
The latest version of the ban limits granting visas to travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen – five of the seven countries covered in the original executive order enforced by Trump last September, NBC reports.
Critics of the decision addressed the ban as a cover up for Trump’s proposed Muslim ban during his 2016 campaign. Chief Justice John Roberts, who voted in support of the decision, rejected anti-Muslim bias and noted that it is up to the President’s discretion to regulate immigration.
“The text says nothing about religion,” Roberts wrote in the majority. “Plaintiffs and the dissent nonetheless emphasize that five of the seven nations currently included in the (ban) have Muslim-majority populations. Yet that fact alone does not support an inference of religious hostility, given that the policy covers just 8 percent of the world’s Muslim population and is limited to countries that were previously designated by Congress or prior administrations as posing national security risks.”
Roberts stated that Trump’s travel ban “is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the four justices who dissented, wrote that “a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus,” disagreeing with the travel ban.
She continued by saying that some of her fellow court justices came to the wrong conclusion by “ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.”
President Trump expressed his agreement with the Supreme Court ruling in a statement.
“The Supreme Court has upheld the clear authority of the President to defend the national security of the United States,” Trump said. “In this era of worldwide terrorism and extremist movements bent on harming innocent civilians, we must properly vet those coming into our country.”
“This ruling is also a moment of profound vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country,” he added.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), among many other civil rights groups and democrats, strongly apposes the ban stating on Twitter that the Supreme court has allowed prejudice to exist in the past, citing Japanese internment camps as a previous example of discrimination made legal.
“This is not the first time the Court has been wrong, or has allowed official racism and xenophobia to continue rather than standing up to it,” the ACLU said.
“History has its eyes on us — and will judge today’s decision harshly.”
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