As portion of Trump's travel ban takes effect, both sides claim victory in SCOTUS decision to hear case
By Steve Bittenbender
Editor, Government Security News
As a portion of President Trump’s travel ban went into effect Thursday evening, both supporters and critics of it said they could claim a victory in the ongoing legal battle over the president’s executive order.
As of 8 pm ET Thursday night, foreign nationals from six Middle Eastern and African countries who were outside of the United States and had no connection inside the country would be barred, temporarily, from entering.
That action was allowed after the Supreme Court on Monday announced it would review the entire order, which calls for a 90-day ban from accepting travelers from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The justices will hear the case in October.
“Protection officers are trained and prepared to professionally process in accordance with the laws of the United States persons with valid visas who present themselves for entry,” the statement said. “We expect no disruptions to service.”
The order was a cornerstone of Trump’s campaign platform on national security. He signed his first executive order calling for a temporary ban in his first week in office. After federal courts upheld a restraining order on the ban, Trump issued a revised order in March that was still met with legal challenges.
Federal courts also upheld restraining orders against the revised ban, which removed Iraq from the list of banned countries and allowed entry to residents from the other six nations who held valid visas or met other requirements.
That’s why the Supreme Court’s decision was seen as a victory by some of Trump’s most ardent supporters.
“This is a major blow to anti-Trump activist judges on the lower courts,” Judicial Watch said in a statement earlier this week. “And it is a big victory for our nation’s security, President Trump, and the rule of the law. In light of today’s strong ruling, the Trump administration should consider additional steps to keep terrorists out of the United States.”
Trump went on Twitter after the justices’ decision, saying it was a “Great day for America’s future Security and Safety.”
However, the ACLU, whose lawyers have filed suit against the bans, said the Supreme Court’s decision would severely restrict the number of people truly affected by the ban. If a non-visa holder has a connection to the United States, they will be allowed entry. That could mean a spouse or family member, or it could mean an organization. For example, if a Libyan student who did not have a visa earned acceptance to a U.S. college, they would not be denied entry during the 90-day ban.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, said the Trump Administration plan to block even those who have a relationship with someone in the United States “defies common sense” and is too restrictive.
Booker also took exception with the focus on Muslims in the ban, and the lawyers fighting the order said the order was an attack on a specific religion.
“We are confident that when the court reviews this unconstitutional order this fall, it will strike it down once and for all, and vindicate both our fundamental commitment to religious neutrality and the responsibility of the courts to serve as an independent check on the exercise of presidential power,” said Cody Wofsy and Skadden Fellow in an article on the ACLU’s Web site.