18:48, December 04 517 0 theguardian.com

2017-12-04 18:48:03
Supreme court allows enforcement of Trump travel ban as appeals proceed

The supreme court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices, with two dissenting votes, said on Monday that the policy could take full effect even as legal challenges against it made their way through the courts. The action suggests the high court could uphold the latest version of the ban, which Trump announced in September.

The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place.

The San Francisco-based ninth US circuit court of appeals and the fourth US circuit court of appeals in Richmond, Virginia, will be holding arguments on the legality of the ban this week.

Both courts are dealing with the issue on an accelerated basis, and the supreme court noted it expected those courts to reach decisions “with appropriate dispatch”.

Quick resolution by appellate courts would allow the supreme court to hear and decide the issue this term, by the end of June.

Trump’s latest ban was issued by presidential proclamation in September and represents the administration’s third attempt to curb travel from a group of Muslim majority countries.

The president’s first ban, issued in January, was chaotically rolled out and quickly blocked by a series of lower court rulings. The second attempt, a more streamlined version of the first, was also blocked by the lower courts but eventually allowed to come into effect in a limited form over the summer.

Lawyers challenging the administration’s successive travel bans have argued that each iteration of the restrictions suffer from the same discriminatory intent, evolving from Trump’s pledge as a presidential candidate to enforce a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.

Following the supreme court ruling on Monday afternoon lawyers involved in the ongoing challenges to Trump’s ban vowed to continue fighting.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, who has argued the case in the fourth appeals circuit said in a statement: “It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims.”

He added: “We continue to stand for freedom, equality, and for those who are unfairly being separated from their loved ones. We will be arguing Friday in the Fourth Circuit that the ban should ultimately be struck down.”