Here’s What You Need to Know About President Trump’s Travel Ban
By Hasan Dudar
Detroit Free Press
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday to uphold President Donald Trump’s executive order for a ban on travelers coming to the United States from seven countries, including five majority-Muslim nations. The decision overturns the rulings of lower courts that had previously considered Trump’s order unconstitutional.
The 5-4 ruling in the Supreme Court means that Trump’s travel ban will remain in effect and essentially stands as law, according to Abed Ayoub, the National Legal and Policy Director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington, D.C.
Here are some things you need to know about the travel ban:
Who does the travel ban impact?
Residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Chad, also a majority Muslim nation, was removed from the travel ban list in April. North Korea and Venezuela, also named in Trump’s executive order, were not a part of the legal battle.
Individuals from those countries who are in the U.S. on a visa that is set to expire also could be at risk, Ayoub said, because they are required to return to their home country to renew their visa and may not be let back in to the U.S. Ayoub said the ban does not affect green card holders, U.S. citizens and those applying for asylum in the U.S. Individuals who are in the U.S. on a valid visa are safe to travel.
Where did the ban come from?
Trump contends that the ban is an issue of national security and introduced it to protect the citizens of the U.S. from “terrorist attacks by foreign nationals admitted to the United States.” Opponents of the ban contend that it is a racist and discriminatory policy aimed at stemming Muslim immigration to the U.S.
The policy’s roots go all the way back to Trump’s days as a candidate for the Oval Office.
In what Politfact.com says was a response to a mass shooting by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, California, in December 2015, then-candidate Trump made a statement at a campaign stop in South Carolina calling for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
When accepting the Republican Party nomination at the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Trump reiterated his plans for a travel ban based on countries, but did not mention Muslims in the proposal.
In the dissent to the High Court’s ruling Tuesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the motivation for the ban was anti-Muslim animus, the Associated Press reported. But the majority said that Trump’s statements did not serve as proof of religious discrimination.
How long did it take to get to this point?
About 17 months. It was first introduced as an executive order in January 2017, has gone through three different iterations since then, and been fiercely fought over and criticized in court the whole time.
What are members of Congress saying and does the legislative branch have a role?
The U.S. Congress does have the power to pass legislation that prohibits such bans, Ayoub said.
But the legistlative branch is divided.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) attacked the court’s decision in backing a policy he says is “backward and un-American.” U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, who is one of two Muslim members of Congress, said the ruling “undermines the core value of religious tolerance on which America was founded.”
But Republicans like U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana saw the news as a “huge victory” for Trump’s plan to “secure the border and strengthen our national security by keeping terrorists out of America.”
What did Trump say after the ruling?
According to a statement released by the White House, Trump described the ruling as a “tremendous victory” for the American people and the Constitution and said that the court upheld the president’s “clear authority” to defend the national security of the country.
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