Today, in a 5-4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the latest version of President Trump’s Travel Ban (also known as Muslim Ban 3.0). Reversing the lower courts, the Supreme Court found the Ban to be a lawful exercise of the broad discretion granted the president to suspend entry of aliens into the U.S, under section 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Per the majority’s ruling, the president was only required to determine that entry of the banned aliens “would be detrimental to interests of U.S.,” and the Court found that President Trump did so largely pursuant to the worldwide review conducted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its subsequent recommendations.
Similarly, in rejecting the Establishment Clause challenge to the Ban, the majority said it considered the significance of President Trump’s numerous statements revealing his anti-Muslim sentiment, but applied an extremely deferential rational basis review to examine if the ban is “plausibly related to the Government’s stated objective to protect the country and improve vetting processes.” In so doing, the Court was willing to disregard all of President Trump’s discriminatory statements because the Travel Ban was neutral on its face, said it was for legitimate reasons (such as improving vetting processes), and came after a review and recommendation by the DHS. The full text of the Court’s decision can be found here.
As you know, IABA, in collaboration with PAAIA and Pars Equality, has actively sought to protect the community from the appalling effects of the Ban from its inception. That coalition also issued a statement, which can be found here.
Without doubt, today’s decision is disheartening, and a blow to civil rights, especially for the Iranian American community. But the fight over this discriminatory policy is not over. First, today’s decision is limited to the question of whether the policy violated the law, as written; a separate question remains as to whether the Trump Administration implemented the policy, and its so-called waivers, in an unlawful manner. Second, we can continue to push for a change in this biased policy though legislative action and advocacy. We ask that you stay engaged and support our efforts to fight this discriminatory policy (and to mitigate its devastating effects), whether through the courts, advocacy, or legislation.