National Security

Supreme Court Sides With President Trump, Allows Travel & Refugee Bans to be Reinstated

“The most important take away from the Supreme Court’s decision is the direct acknowledgment that security concerns take precedence over the rights of foreign individuals.”

The Supreme Court has weighed in on President Trump’s travel ban, and for now is siding with the Administration. The Supreme Court has outlined some limitations, however, and has made the current reinstatement temporary. The Justices will take up the issue again in the autumn so that it can deliver a final ruling.

For now, a 90 day ban has been placed on citizens from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. However, if these citizens have credible ties to the United States, pursuing education for example or having family that resides here, they can still enter the country.

The Administration claims that the travel ban will provide time to evaluate the internal screening process used to review visa applications from these countries. The administration aims to complete these reviews by the beginning of October, at which point the Supreme Court is expected to delve deeper into the issue. So far, indications and opinions hint at the Court siding with the Administration.

Refugees have also been banned outright for 120 days. This ban comes even though refugees statistically are among the lowest risk groups for both crime and terrorist activities. From 1975 to the end of 2015 the United States admitted over 3.2 million refugees. Only twenty of them were ever found to be involved in terrorist activities. Out of these twenty, only three terrorists carried out fatal attacks, and all three were Cuban. No refugee from the Middle East has ever carried out a fatal terrorist attack.

Security Cited as Primary Reason for Ban

The Administration has argued that controls on citizens from the six banned countries are not sound enough to ensure that terrorists and other subversive individuals are not entering the country. The Administration has claimed that 72 people from the seven countries originally on the ban (Iraq has been dropped) have been implicated in terrorist activities in recent years.

Critics have disputed this number, noting that many of the 72 people cited were tried for non-terrorism charges, such as fraud. And while the United States would certainly prefer to keep criminals out, statistics so far suggest that the number of “criminals” from these countries is roughly on par with overall percents for travelers.

Not only that, but countries not on the ban may actually have actually produced more terrorists in the past. For example, 15 of the 19 people implicated in the 9/11 terrorist attacks hailed from Saudi Arabia, which is not included in the ban. Furthermore, President Trump and his administration have actually maintained especially close ties with the Saudis.

Critics have also cited statements President Trump made on the Presidential campaign trail. Trump and various individuals connected to the administration have insinuated that the ban is in-fact a “Muslim” ban. This alleged religious discrimination has infuriated many Americans. Further, lower courts cited these comments as proof that the ban is religiously motivated in their rulings.

The most important take away from the Supreme Court’s decision is the direct acknowledgment that security concerns take precedence over the rights of foreign individuals. Several Justices cited security as a valid reason for instituting a ban. This ruling could set a considerable amount of precedence in the future.

The ban is expected to come into effect within 72 hours.

Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant. Brinker has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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