Trump: Travel ban decision a national security victory
Washington — The Supreme Court is allowing President Donald Trump to forge ahead with a limited version of his ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to the U.S. Trump hailed the decision as a “victory for national security,” but it’s likely to set off a new round of court disputes over anti-terror efforts and religious discrimination.
The justices will hear full arguments in October in the case that has stirred heated emotions across the nation and pointed rebukes from lower courts saying the administration is targeting Muslims. Until then, the court said Monday, Trump’s ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen can be enforced if those visitors lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
The ruling sets up a potential clash between the government and opponents of the ban over the strength of visitors’ ties to the United States. A senior official said plans already had been written to enforce the ban aggressively. But immigrant groups said relatively few people try to enter the U.S. without well-established ties. Those groups said they will send lawyers and monitors back to American airports, where the implementation of the ban in January caused chaos and confusion.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the ban would be implemented starting 72 hours after being cleared by courts. That means it will take effect Thursday morning.
The president has denied that the ban targets Muslims but says it is needed “to protect the nation from terrorist activities” committed by citizens of the six countries. All six have been designated as presenting heightened concerns about terrorism and travel to the United States.
The 90-day ban will allow an internal review of screening procedures for visa applicants from the countries, the administration says. That review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.
The ban will have run its course by then, raising a question of whether the justices will even issue a decision in the case or dismiss it because it has been overtaken by events.
The court asked both sides to address the issue of timing, along with questions about whether the ban is aimed at Muslims, the impact of Trump’s provocative campaign statements and federal courts’ authority to restrain the president in the area of immigration.
A 120-day ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a similar, limited basis.
Trump hailed the court’s order as a “clear victory for our national security,” but some immigration lawyers said relatively few people would fall under the ban because people coming to study, work or visit family members already have sufficient relationships with others already is in the country.