The U.S. Supreme Court on July 19 issued a ruling that allows grandparents and other relatives of immigrants from the six Muslim-majority countries in Trump’s travel ban to enter the U.S. At the same time, the Court approved the request to more strictly enforce the ban, while saying that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals should now review the issue.
If you’re feeling confused about where the travel ban stands now, you’re not alone. Here are ten things you need to know about Trump’s ban on Muslims coming to the U.S.
1. Trump initially promised to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. On December 7, 2015, he spoke of a “total and complete” shutdown until the U.S. authorities “can figure out what the hell is going on.” In a statement released by his campaign, he included poll findings which he said showed that many Muslims have “great hatred towards Americans.” Once Trump became the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, he changed his tune and pointed to the need for “extreme vetting.”
2. On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for the following 90 days. He targeted Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order was called “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States,” even though every terrorist who has carried out a lethal attack in the U.S. since 9/11 was either a legal resident or a citizen. In an extra display of cold-heartedness, Trump’s order also halted the U.S. refugee program and prevented any Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. indefinitely.
Photo Credit: Scott Lum
3. Mass protests against the ban erupted at airports across the U.S. on January 28 when numerous people were detained after they had landed. In New York a federal judge granted the request of the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups and issued an emergency order blocking part of the order. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly temporarily prevented the U.S. from deporting people who had arrived with a valid visa or an already-completed visa application, but were stranded in U.S. airports because of Trump’s travel ban. The following day a federal judge in Boston also blocked part of the order.
4. Trump defended his executive order and, bringing his supporters more fake news, he continued to insist that he was protecting the U.S. from terrorists. Just to prove that he really meant it, on January 30 he fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to defend his ban.
5. On February 3, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart blocked Trump’s travel ban nationwide, and on February 5, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected the U.S. government’s request to resume it. Instead, they asked for both sides to file legal briefs before they could issue a ruling. Arguments were presented on February 7 and two days later the Court announced their decision to uphold the suspension of Trump’s executive order. Resistance works!
6. Trump promised to come up with a new travel ban, which he did on March 6. This time he took Iraq off his list of targeted countries, leaving Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The ban would take effect on March 16 and block citizens from these countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.
7. Again, Resistance! The state of Hawaii filed the first lawsuit against the new ban a day later, and on March 15 U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson placed a nationwide temporary restraining order on the ban. Trump called this decision “an unprecedented judicial overreach,” but many of us were feeling very grateful for our court system. The next day a district court judge in Maryland chimed in, blocking the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of those six countries.
8. On May 25 the 4th Circuit Court, based in Virginia, also denied Trump permission to implement his travel ban. “We remain unconvinced [the ban] has more to do with national security than it does with effectuating the President’s promised Muslim ban,” the court stated. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, doing his master’s bidding, said that the Justice Department disagreed with this ruling and would take their case to the Supreme Court.
9. The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the issue on June 26, partially reinstating the travel ban. The Court announced that it would hear arguments in the case in October but until then, the ban on citizens from those six countries can be enforced if they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
10. The vagueness of this wording meant that on July 13, Derrick Watson, the same Hawaii judge who placed a restraining order on Trump’s second travel ban, stepped in to say that a “bona fide relationship” can include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the U.S. The Justice Department requested clarification on this, and that brings us to the latest ruling, on July 19. See above.
We are grateful to the many state attorneys general and federal judges who are doing their job, enforcing the rule of law and standing up to bullying by President Trump.
Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull