Supreme Court travel ban ruling: What it means

People walk out after the U.S. Supreme Court granted parts of the Trump administration's emergency request to put his travel ban into effect immediately while the legal battle continues, on June 26, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

(USA Today) The Supreme Court delivered a mixed ruling on Monday (June 26) that will allow President Trump to implement his travel ban against six Muslim-majority nations — but only for visitors lacking ties to the United States.

The court ruled that Trump may bar people from the six countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — if they have no “bona fide” relationship to the U.S. Those that have established ties will be allowed to continue entering the country.

That means officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department will have to begin sorting through each application submitted by travelers from the six countries to determine if they have enough of a link to the U.S. to enter.

The justices provided several examples to explain who may enter the country:

  • If  U.S. citizens claim close relatives from one of the targeted countries, they will be able to do so.
  • If U.S. universities have accepted students from one of the targeted countries, the students will be able to enter the U.S. and start their studies.
  • If a U.S. business has given a job to a worker from one of the targeted countries, the worker will be able to do that job.

“In practical terms, this means that (the executive order) may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States,” the court wrote.

Two federal appeals courts had blocked the entire ban from going into effect, one saying it violates constitutional protections for religion and the other saying it violates immigration law.

The Supreme Court ruled that a complete ban went too far, and it only blocked that part affecting those with “standing” to challenge Trump’s executive order in U.S. courts.

The court ruled that Trump’s order may have violated the rights of U.S. citizens, universities and businesses by preventing them from bringing in their relatives, students and employees from overseas.

But the court concluded that foreigners who have no ties to the U.S. cannot argue, on their own, that constitutional protections apply to them. They’re not U.S. citizens, U.S. students or U.S. employees, so the protections established in the Constitution do not apply to them. 

The court ruled that the administration’s main argument — that the travel ban is needed to improve vetting procedures to stop would-be terrorists from entering the country — is at its “peak” when applied to foreigners who have no ties to the U.S.

“The interest in preserving national security is, ‘an urgent objective of the highest order,'” the justices wrote. “To prevent the Government from pursuing that objective by enforcing (the travel ban) against foreign nationals unconnected to the United States would appreciably injure its interests, without alleviating obvious hardship to anyone else.”

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a warning about creating such an arrangement, warning that a “flood of litigation” will soon follow as the administration tries to walk the line established by the Supreme Court.

“I fear that the Court’s remedy will prove unworkable,” Thomas wrote. “Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding — on peril of contempt — whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country.”

The earliest the administration can begin enforcing the portions of the travel ban allowed by the Supreme Court is Thursday.

About the author

Alan Gomez


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  • Why would you want them in your country – they are trying to get away from each other. They murder each other. Is this what you really want for the US?
    The muslim war against Christians. The muslim war against the Hindu. The muslim want to war against Jews. The muslim war against each other.
    When they can work their problems out, by all means, invite them to your country, but, don’t make more problems than you already have. That’s just silly

  • People trying to flee terror and dictatorship to make a new life here? Of course we want and need them here. That is why we are the nation of refuge seekers. They are more useful in fighting terrorism than you are.

    In the war against refugees you are on the same side as ISIS

  • How do you know they are fleeing terror and dictatorship, Spud? People tell stories. Let them work out their problems, and then let them go any place they want.

  • Because refugee status is based on proving you are. USCIS has the duty to vet them and determine if they are being truthful. As they have been doing since the department was created. It is such an important status, as it prevents deportation and confers permanent residence, that they take refugee claims more seriously than any other visa type.

  • As I have shared before, there are many areas where sufficient records are non-existent to properly vet refugee applicants so USCIS is dependent on personal interviews which are not always a strong source for knowing a person’s background or likely future behavior. You talk alot about USCIS but you don’t seem to know much about what actually goes into the process. DOJ has a large part in the review process as well.

  • Instead of arguing from ignorance of the system in place, try this:

    I find most people who take an anti-immigrant POV tend to be plum ignorant as to how the immigration system works or the laws they use. Instead they just make assumptions and wild guesses as to such matters rather than educate themselves on the subject.

    USCIS has been dealing with this issue since its inception. EVERY refugee wave this country has taken in has the same issue. In most cases the objections are entirely unfounded and proven to be based mostly on panic.

    BTW if you think this current wave of refugees represents any kind of threat to the safety and well being of this country, keep in mind we have let in far worse groups. Including 3 nations which essentially emptied out their prisons on the US of their worst criminals they had. Yet the effect was almost entirely forgotten a short time later.

    The problem people have with the talk of “enhanced vetting” is they have no clue what was involved in the vetting process to begin with. So they have no idea where it is supposedly deficient. This is all just an excuse to bar refugees for its own sake.

  • Yes, you made up nonsense your alleged expertise on the subject numerous times. You have consistently 1ied about knowing how the process works and you rely on a nonsense argument which fails to take into account how USCIS operates. How would you know how deficient they allegedly are? You don’t.

    I talk alot about USCIS because it is their precise job to vet refugees and grant such status upon people entering this country. They would be the people in the know. You are not.

  • But you damned the same system a few days ago when it was revealed that some immigration judges have ruled against the refugees’ upon review.

  • Yep. Immigration courts have a major due process problem. But USCIS immigration clerks are on the other end of the system.

    I am not saying our immigration system is perfect. I am saying you should educate yourself about it in order to level informed criticism of the subject.

  • I give you links to the appropriate first hand knowledge bearing government agency and you give me an unrelated wingnut news source of questionable veracity.

  • So you rely upon google. DOJ has to sign off on all refugee asylum requests as well as USCIS. And it is very common of USCIS to query DIA and other military intelligence agencies to ask us if we have any information on particular individuals. Very often our response is, information is not available pro or con simply because in a particular area there are no records to examine. Just because person “x” has no history with us and hasn’t popped up on our radar doesn’t mean he or she is not radicalized. It only means they haven’t done anything that we are aware of.

  • For any foreigner to enter the US is not a right but a privilege. The US is a sovereign entity which is completely free to ban foreigners from its territory, even without giving reasons.

  • Again you are speaking of alleged first hand knowledge you admitted in the past you lack on the subject. Now you are claiming some personal professional connection to the subject.

    Assurances of personal knowledge aren’t worth squat in this kind of forum. I provide links here so the readers can getmthe necessary info from the firsthand source. Do you have some outside source to confirm such procedures exist you can link to? Or was it something your wing chaplain told you (that was contradicted by a cursory glance at news sources).

  • They are executive branch. Technically, they are all bureaucrats. But USCIS is unloved and beleaguered. They don’t have the manpower, budget or political cachet as ICE or immigration courts. But their job is very important and difficult. Visa issuance and evaluation. Half the issues we have is because there aren’t enough visa clerks to handle the volume of applications. I feel bad for them.

  • My organization routinely provides information gathered in the performance of our mission to other agencies who are tasked with review of application for asylum because our folks may have first or second hand experience with said individual. Often we provide a recommendation brief with the package based on a person’s behavior or based on a lack of information availability in a particular area.

  • Yet you rely on melodramatic pleas, moderating facts, generalizations and avoidance of history on the subject. Worse still are repeating memes by people with no conceivable clue on the subject. In an online discussion, claims of personal knowledge and expertise have a limited level of credibility. You have given me enough to not take your assertions at face value.

    So how many government organizations have unit groups called “wings”? Since when did the Air Force have a Civil Affairs division?

  • If you don’t open links, you shouldn’t provide them either. Why would we be expected to do something you refuse to do?

  • Oh well, what’s a few more Jews murdered by the Nazis, right? Even if you hypocritically don’t open links, you can google the information yourself. “MS St. Louis”

  • oh well. I’m not compelled to believe everyone’s lies when they write them, Arb. Neither are you.

  • The story of the MS St. Louis is well documented. I suggest you look it up, before accusing others of lying.

  • Don’t worry, I’ll give you the gist of it. The MS St. Louis was a German ocean liner carrying over 900 Jewish refugees from Nazism in 1939. They were refused entry by Cuba, the United States and Canada*. They were forced to return to Europe, where it is estimated that about a quarter of them died in the camps.
    *In 2000, the nephew of the openly anti-Semitic director of the Canadian immigration authority at the time apologized for his uncle’s actions.

  • Army takes lead on Civil Affairs. Many other areas have other branches or militar in lead or are joint operations.

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