Supreme Court Lets Travel Ban Proceed Amid Legal Challenges

Supreme Court Lets Travel Ban Proceed Amid Legal Challenges

The Trump administration’s controversial travel ban, which indefinitely bars most travelers and immigrants from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United States, can be implemented in its current form while pending legal challenges to it are resolved, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday. According to the Washington Post, “in an unsigned opinion Monday that did not disclose the court’s reasoning, the justices lifted the injunctions” against the ban put in place by two federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland:

The justices said they expected the federal judges reviewing challenges to the order — based on what challengers say are Trump’s animus toward Muslims and lack of authority under immigration laws — to handle the cases with “appropriate dispatch.”’ … The orders from the two district judges will be reviewed this week. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit is set to consider the Hawaii case Wednesday, and the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond will consider the Maryland judge’s decision Friday.

Monday’s ruling does not mean the ban will survive its ongoing court battles, but it does suggest that if the federal judges do attempt to knock it down, the administration will petition the Supreme Court for a reversal of their rulings and may win that case.

US President Donald Trump has been attempting to enact some form of the travel ban since shortly after coming into office, but his effort has been held up by numerous lawsuits alleging that the policy, which targets mostly Muslim-majority countries, is discriminatory and does not serve the country’s national security interests. The same judges in Hawaii and Maryland rejected an earlier version of the ban on this basis in March, issuing injunctions that the high court later lifted in part.

In September, the administration unveiled a new version of the ban that barred travel indefinitely instead of a fixed period of time and adjusted the list of affected countries. The restrictions also vary by country: North Koreans and Syrians will be banned from coming to the U.S. as immigrants or non-immigrants, for example, while immigration is suspended from Chad, Iran, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, but some non-immigrant travel will be allowed, while the restrictions on Venezuela apply only to certain government officials there. Those who are allowed in from countries like Iran and Somalia will be subject to enhanced security vetting.

Consular officers will have discretion to waive the restrictions on a case-by-case basis, if individuals can prove that it would cause them undue hardship to be denied admission to the US and are not a security threat. The judges issued injunctions against this version of the ban in October, prompting a second petition to the Supreme Court for review.