CGRS Responds to Supreme Court Travel Ban Decision

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Supreme Court announced yesterday it would hear arguments in October on President Trump’s travel ban and allowed a narrow portion of the ban to go forward. The high Court’s decision, however, largely preserves the lower court injunctions staying President Trump’s Executive Order. Specifically, it prevents the Administration from enforcing the ban against “foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Those individuals can continue to travel here while the case before the Supreme Court remains pending.

Critically, refugees in the process of resettlement should be determined to have, at minimum, the sort of personal and organizational relationships specified by the Court. The majority of refugees selected by the U.S. government have family members here. Those who do not form ties to U.S.-based agencies through the normal resettlement process. The Court also clarified that the Administration cannot enforce the Executive Order’s 50,000 fiscal year cap against refugees with the specified ties. In short, the Court’s decision should allow the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to continue to resettle refugees fleeing persecution.

“It is unfortunate that the Court allowed any part of the discriminatory Executive Order, which we have previously decried, to go forward,” said Center for Gender and Refugee Studies (CGRS) Director Karen Musalo. She continued: “The travel ban impermissibly targets Muslims on the basis of religion and is based on the false premise that it is necessary in order to keep our nation safe.  It is not only unnecessary, but as the Fourth and Ninth Circuits correctly concluded, the ban likely violates the Constitution and our immigration laws.”

CGRS Co-Legal Director Eunice Lee added: “We remain hopeful that the Supreme Court will reach the correct conclusion next term and prevent the Administration from banning any individuals under the Order. In the meantime, we are relieved that refugees with dire protection needs, who are already thoroughly vetted for security risks, will continue to receive safe haven through the U.S. resettlement program.”