President Trump was quick to declare Monday’s travel ban decision by the Supreme Court a “clear victory” for him. It is not.
Monday’s decision recognized that the ban would be devastating to families, organizations and communities across the United States. And the court ruled that the government cannot apply the ban to anyone with a “bona fide relationship” to family or organizations in this country.
That is a far cry from what the government had asked the Supreme Court to do: to allow the ban to go into effect immediately and completely, regardless of its effects. The Supreme Court decisively rejected that request.
What the decision means in practical terms is that anyone coming to visit a family member in the United States, or anyone who has a relationship with a school, an employer, a nonprofit organization, or another entity in the United States, is exempted from the ban. The court was clear this has to be a “bona fide” relationship — meaning that it cannot be manufactured just to get around the ban — but that is the majority of visitors.
Supreme Court lets part of Trump’s travel ban go into effect
Only the small group of individuals with no connections in the United States can be prohibited from entering the United States under Monday’s decision.
Importantly, the court did not decide that the ban is legal regarding those individuals, only that the government may implement that limited version of the ban while it considers the legal questions.
And make no mistake: Whether narrow or broad, the ban is unconstitutional. The government cannot single out any religion for disfavor, and it is crystal clear that President Trump tried to do just that with his ban.
When the Supreme Court returns to this case in the fall, we expect that it will strike the entire ban down. That’s what the other federal courts have done time and again, because that’s what’s necessary to protect our rights in the face of this extraordinary and unprecedented expression of official hostility to a major American religious community.
Court allows Trump travel ban to affect tens of thousands
Omar Jadwat is the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and argued against Trump’s travel ban before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia.