US Supreme Court al­lows Trump’s broad refugee ban

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

THE US Supreme Court has al­lowed President Don­ald Trump to broadly im­ple­ment a ban on refugees en­ter­ing the coun­try from around the world.

The Supreme Court jus­tices granted on Tues­day a re­quest from the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to block a lower court de­ci­sion that would have eased the re­stric­tive refugee pol­icy and, ac­cord­ing to the jus­tice de­part­ment, al­lowed up to 24 000 ad­di­tional refugees to en­ter the United States be­fore Oc­to­ber.

The Supreme Court rul­ing gives Trump a par­tial vic­tory as it pre­pares for a key hear­ing on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial ex­ec­u­tive or­der in Oc­to­ber.

Trump signed a re­vised ex­ec­u­tive or­der on March 6 that banned trav­ellers from six Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­tries — Iran, Libya, So­ma­lia, Su­dan, Syria and Ye­men — for 90 days and locked out most refugees for 120 days in a move that the Repub­li­can president ar­gued was needed to pre­vent “ter­ror­ist” at­tacks. The March or­der fol­lowed an even stricter ver­sion in Jan­uary, which was quickly chal­lenged in court and sus­pended in Fe­bru­ary. The ad­min­is­tra­tion has yet to say whether it will seek to re­new the bans, make them per­ma­nent, or ex­pand the travel ban to other coun­tries.

Since be­ing in­tro­duced in March, US courts have lim­ited the scope of the re­vised ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

Lower courts have ruled that the bans vi­o­late the US Con­sti­tu­tion and fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law. The high court has agreed to re­view those rul­ings. Its in­ter­ven­tion so far has been to eval­u­ate what parts of the pol­icy can take ef­fect in the mean­time.

The jus­tices said in June that the ad­min­is­tra­tion could not en­force the bans against peo­ple who have a “bona fide” re­la­tion­ship with peo­ple or en­ti­ties in the US. The jus­tices de­clined to de­fine the re­quired re­la­tion­ships more pre­cisely.

In a rul­ing last week, the 9th US Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals said grand­par­ents, aunts, un­cles and cousins of le­gal US res­i­dents would be ex­empt from the travel ban. The jus­tice de­part­ment opted not to ap­peal that part of the 9th Cir­cuit de­ci­sion.

How­ever, the 9th Cir­cuit also ruled that Trump’s refugee pol­icy was too broad, and the court al­lowed en­try to refugees from around the world if they had a for­mal of­fer from a re­set­tle­ment agency. The jus­tice de­part­ment ap­pealed, and the full Supreme Court sided, at least for now, with the ad­min­is­tra­tion in a one­sen­tence or­der.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Hawaii at­tor­ney gen­eral, who chal­lenged the ad­min­is­tra­tion in court, could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment. Ear­lier on Tues­day, Hawaii said in a court fil­ing that the US govern­ment could still “bar tens of thou­sands of refugees from en­ter­ing the coun­try”.

All the 9th Cir­cuit rul­ing did is “pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble refugees and the Amer­i­can en­ti­ties that have been ea­gerly pre­par­ing to wel­come them to our shores”, the state’s lawyers said.

Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, the UK-based rights or­gan­i­sa­tion, called Tues­day’s Supreme Court de­ci­sion a “dev­as­tat­ing blow”.

“The Supreme Court to­day has dealt yet an­other dev­as­tat­ing blow to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple who were on the cusp of ob­tain­ing safety for them­selves and their fam­i­lies,” Amnesty’s Nau­reen Shah said in a state­ment.

“They [refugees] con­tinue to be sub­jected to unimag­in­able vi­o­lence and fear while their lives are in limbo. This ban is in­her­ently cruel and no part of it should be al­lowed to stand.”

Mean­while, Congress unan­i­mously passed a res­o­lu­tion on Tues­day con­demn­ing neo-Nazis, the KKK and other white na­tion­al­ists that urges Trump to ad­dress hate groups af­ter deadly racially-charged vi­o­lence in Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia dur­ing Au­gust. The joint res­o­lu­tion, which de­scribes the vi­o­lence as a “do­mes­tic ter­ror­ist at­tack”, calls on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion to im­prove data col­lec­tion on hate crimes and speak out against in­creas­ingly preva­lent hate groups.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives unan­i­mously ap­proved the mea­sure on Tues­day, af­ter the Se­nate did so a day ear­lier, and it now goes to Trump for his sig­na­ture.

Law­mak­ers from Vir­ginia said Congress spoke with “a uni­fied voice” to un­equiv­o­cally con­demn the un­rest, in which a coun­ter­demon­stra­tor was killed when a car driven by a sus­pected white su­prem­a­cist plowed into a crowd af­ter a rally called by far-right ex­trem­ists turned vi­o­lent.

The mea­sure recog­nises and of­fers con­do­lences for the death of Heather Heyer, two emer­gency re­spon­ders also killed in a he­li­copter crash while mon­i­tor­ing the protest, and the 19 peo­ple in­jured in the vi­o­lence.

“I hope this bi­par­ti­san ac­tion will help heal the wounds left in the af­ter­math of this tragedy and send a clear mes­sage to those that seek to di­vide our coun­try that there is no place for hate and vi­o­lence,” said House Demo­crat Gerry Con­nelly. Trump was widely crit­i­cised for us­ing di­vi­sive lan­guage af­ter clashes be­tween white su­prem­a­cist groups and those op­posed to them.

The president’s job ap­proval rat­ings sank to one of the low­est lev­els of his tur­bu­lent seven-month pres­i­dency, as re­spon­dents sav­aged his han­dling of racial is­sues fol­low­ing the deadly chaos.

The res­o­lu­tion ex­presses “sup­port for the Char­lottesville com­mu­nity, re­ject­ing white na­tion­al­ists, white su­prem­a­cists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other hate groups, and urg­ing the president and the president’s cabi­net to use all avail­able re­sources to ad­dress the threats posed by those groups”. — AFP

The Supreme Court is sched­uled to hold a full hear­ing on the re­vised ban in Oc­to­ber. PA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.