The US supreme court on Monday allowed President Donald Trump’s revised ban on travel that prevents residents of eight countries, including six mainly Muslim nations, from travelling to America even as lower courts continue to grapple with the legality of the measure.
The ban will prevent most citizens from Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, Libya, Syria, North Korea and some groups from Venezuela from entering the United States.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the leading body representing American Muslims, slammed the order as “Muslim Ban 3.0”.
“This decision ignores the very real human consequences to American citizens and their families abroad imposed by President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0,” the council’s national litigation director Lena Masri said in a statement.
The justices, two of whom disagreed with the order, assigned no reasons for allowing the federal government’s application for a stay against an injunction by a lower court. But they urged lower courts dealing with challenge to move swiftly.
Each of the nine judges wrote their own decision.
This is the third iteration of the travel ban Trump had first issued just days after assuming office in January. It ran into legal trouble, protests and chaos at airports from the minute it went into effect.
The second order, which was narrower, met the same fate. The third was narrower still and allowed many exemptions for the relatives of permanent residents in the US. It was unveiled in September and drew immediate challenges in federal appeals courts in Richmond, Virginia and San Francisco, California.
Plaintiffs argued that the measure targeted Muslims in violation of the US Constitution and did not advance security goals as the government claimed.
The challengers convinced the lower courts to put implementation on hold while they and government lawyers fight out the legality of the policy.
But the Trump administration, which says the ban is crucial to protect US national security and deter terror attacks, secured strong support from the Supreme Court to let the government move ahead while the appeals continue.
The ban does not impact all the eight countries uniformly. It applies, for instance, only to a small group of citizens of Venezuela who are working for one of the five government entities facing US sanctions, and their families. And exchange students from Iran will continue to be allowed into the US.
Trump had touted these restrictions as steps necessary to secure the mainland from terrorists and the countries put on the ban list were those that couldn’t be trusted to vet their citizens, or share information or intelligence about them.
After Monday’s court ruling the department of homeland security said, “The administration’s common sense travel restrictions on countries that do not meet basic security standards and do not share critical information with us about terrorists and criminals are designed to defend the homeland and keep Americans safe.”
When Trump last week retweeted three video clips from an extremist British group that vilified Muslims, his critics said it supported the idea that his immigration policies were anti-Muslim.
“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret — he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
“It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims. We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones.”