Supreme Court Upholds 3rd Version of Travel Ban
June 26, 2018
In a decision published today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation which restricts travel to the United States of citizens from certain predominantly Muslim countries, North Korea and Venezuela. That proclamation was the third iteration of a travel ban and succeeded lower court decisions which found that the initial Executive Order and subsequent versions exceeded the president’s authority granted by Congress and was motivated by Trump’s prejudice against Muslims, as demonstrated through statements and tweets. Previously, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect pending its consideration.
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, found that the presidential proclamation “is squarely within the scope of presidential authority” over immigration and that authority has not been undermined by “this President’s words” and rejected arguments that the order was biased because of the predominant religion of most of the affected countries. During his presidential campaign, candidate Trump frequently called for a "Muslim ban," but the government argued to the Supreme Court that the travel ban is separate from that campaign promise.
According to the Supreme Court “(t)he Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices.” Acknowledging President Trump’s many statements concerning his desire to impose a “Muslim ban,” the Court decision said “(t)he issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements … It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility.”
The Proclamation issued last fall barred various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities. They are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. Restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the challenge. Chad was later removed from the list.
Citizens of the affected countries face varying degrees of restrictions. The restrictions should not affect individuals who already possess a U.S. visa stamp or permanent residence, per the Proclamation.
Following is a breakdown of the countries and restrictions.
Total Ban: Syria, Somalia and North Korea
No nonimmigrant visas except student visas and no immigrant or diversity visas: Iran
No B-1 or B-2 visitor visas and no immigrant and diversity visas: Libya and Yemen
No B-1 or B-2 visitor visas for government officials and their immediate family members: Venezuela
Please contact Weaver Schlenger LLP if you have any questions.