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From left, Zainab Chaudry, Zainab Arain and Megan Fair with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, stand outside of the Supreme Court as the court hears arguments on President Trump's ban on travelers from mostly Muslim countries, April 25, 2018, in Washington, DC.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Citizenship

Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Travel Ban on Muslim-Majority Countries

The United States Supreme Court ruled that President Donald Trump’s executive order restricting immigration from seven countries was lawful on Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

The court ruled 5 to 4 in favor of the executive order, widely known as the travel ban, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion. Roberts and the other conservative judges argued that presidents have broad latitude to enforce the country’s immigration laws.

The ruling opens the way for future, indefinite, and potentially broader travel bans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Take Action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People

“This ruling will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s great failures,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement. “It repeats the mistakes of the Korematsu decision upholding Japanese-American imprisonment and swallows wholesale government lawyers’ flimsy national security excuse for the ban instead of taking seriously the president’s own explanation for his action.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the dissenting minority opinion on the court and excoriated the ultimate decision.

The travel ban that the Supreme Court upheld largely prevented immigration, including for refugees, from eight countries —  Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela, and North Korea. Chad was eventually removed from this list.

Six of these countries have Muslim-majority populations, and critics have argued that the ban was fueled not by legitimate security concerns, but by prejudice.

The executive order went through three iterations, all of which faced significant legal challenges. The first two versions were blocked by courts.

Read More: Refugee Executive Order Puts Trump on the Wrong Side of History

The most recent order was issued in September and was challenged by a coalition of states including Hawaii and California, several individuals, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group. It was blocked by both a Federal District Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, but the Supreme Court allowed it to take effect until a final hearing. 

Global Citizen has campaigned against President Trump’s travel bans because of its targeting of refugees. You can take action on this issue here.