The US Supreme Court has ruled President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six Muslim countries can go into full effect, pending legal challenges.
The decision is a boost for Mr Trump’s policy against travellers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Although this decision allows the Muslim ban to go into effect now, the court could still find it unconstitutional at a later date.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the ruling “a substantial victory for the safety and security of the American people”.
But the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the president’s retweeting of British far-right videos last week showed his discrimination against Islam.
“President Trump’s anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret – he has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter,” ACLU lawyer Omar Jadwat said. “It’s unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims.”
In January, Trump signed an order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee entry. The measure, which also banned Syrian refugees indefinitely, prompted protests and multiple legal challenges
A revised version in March removed Iraq from the list and lifted the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. By June, the Supreme Court allowed most of it to go into effect, including a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the US. But it granted a wide exemption for those with a “bona fide” connection to the US
President Trump’s third order was announced in late September. It added non-Muslim-majority nations North Korea and Venezuela, provisions which lower courts have allowed to proceed.
The US president insisted his ban was necessary for national security and pointed to terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Brussels and Berlin as evidence.
But in striking it down, federal judges have cited Mr Trump’s campaign description of his policy as a “Muslim ban” and his call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Lower courts across the US have said the president’s policy violated the first amendment of the US constitution covering freedom of religion.
Meanwhile, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, expressed deep concern over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to allow President Trump’s “Muslim Ban” to be implemented.
“This decision ignores the very real human consequences to American citizens and their families abroad imposed by President Trump’s Muslim Ban 3.0,” said CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri.
“The Supreme Court’s actions today are a good reminder that we can’t simply rely on the courts to address the Trump administration’s efforts to marginalise Muslims and other minorities,” said CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “We must all do everything we can to oppose Muslim Ban 3.0.”