On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s travel ban, stating it is “squarely within” the president’s authority. The 5-4 ruling by the high court that “Travel Ban 3.0,” named for being the third iteration of Trump’s controversial immigration proposal, is constitutional.
The president signed Proclamation No. 9645 on September 24, 2017, which indefinitely restricted most travel from the countries Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Venezuela, North Korea, and Chad. However, the administration lifted travel restrictions on Chad in April.
Due to the fact that several countries have a majority-Muslim population, accusations claiming Trump was unfairly targeting Muslims arose. Shortly after the court decision, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland issued injunctions that blocked the ban from going into effect for the Muslim-populated countries, not Venezuela and North Korea.
In the case--Trump v. Hawaii--the state of Hawaii claims that the ban harms its university system by restricting potential scholars and students from entering the United States. Additionally, individual plaintiffs involved in the case with Hawaii also say Travel Ban 3.0 separates them from loved ones who applied for U.S. visas.
The Trump administration argued that the ban was vetted by several agencies and was founded on a review of foreign policy, rather than religion. Hawaii and the associated plaintiffs challenged the proposal, requesting the Supreme Court to rule on whether the president’s use of authority was lawful, too broad, or improperly targeted majority-Muslim countries.
Although conservative Chief Justice John Roberts did not dispute Trump’s consistent anti-Muslim statements, he says the only thing a president has to claim is that entry for people from different countries would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The court wrote that he fulfilled that requirement.
Chief Justice Roberts was joined by the court’s four other conservative justices to make up the majority decision. The court’s four liberal justices all dissented.
In two previous cases, the federal courts struck down the administration’s attempts to ban immigration from Muslim-majority countries.
A week after his inauguration, Trump issued an executive order to ban individuals from entering the U.S. from seven countries where the majority of their citizens are Muslim: Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Somalia for 90 days. Furthermore, it also indefinitely banned Syrian refugees and restricted refugee admissions for 120 days.
However, the Ninth Circuit rejected the first “travel ban,” which prompted the Trump administration to subsequently introduce a slightly different order. While Travel Ban 2.0 faced obstacles in several lower courts, the Supreme Court allowed it to go partially into effect in June 2017. The order expired by its own terms and the administration replaced it with the proclamation which was upheld recently in late June.