US Supreme Court approves newest version of President Donald Trump's travel ban

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

This week, United States president Donald Trump's travel ban targeting people from certain countries has for the first time been given the opportunity to be fully put into effect. Seven of the United States Supreme Court's nine justices have now agreed to the administration's request to lift two injunctions that had been imposed by lower courts. On Monday, the Supreme Court gave its approval to the newest version of the travel ban. This version replaces the one that expired in September after various judicial challenges. The current travel ban is still pending ultimate approval later this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. Those two courts will hold hearings and weigh all the arguments. The Supreme Court has decided that the travel ban itself can be fully enforced while final approval is pending.

According to Trump, who during his presidential campaign promised "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", the travel ban is a necessary measure to prevent Islamic terrorists from entering the US. The now-approved travel ban will apply in particular to six Muslim-majority countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. In addition, the ban will affect some people from North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela. These provisions had already been allowed earlier by lower courts. On October 24, a separate directive was added to this version of the ban, which enhances the security screening for refugees from another 11 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East.

Earlier incarnations of the travel ban had been partly blocked by federal judges. Like its predecessors, this latest version of the ban is strongly criticised and has already been disputed in various lawsuits, in particular by the state of Hawaii and the American Civil Liberties Union. The challengers say the part of the travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries discriminates against Muslims and so violates the US Constitution and immigration laws. On the other hand, they do not dispute the restrictions placed on Venezuela and North Korea.


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