I-Team: SCOTUS ruling on travel ban a mixed bag for Triangle

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
SCOTUS ruling on travel ban a mixed bag for Triangle
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What does the travel ban mean for the Triangle?

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Though a final ruling is still months away, the Supreme Court's decision to uphold an Executive Order on travel and immigration is highlighting the evolving nature of that order and its impact on the Triangle.

Signed on Sept. 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued new rules on immigration and non-immigration visas affecting several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Libya, and Syria.

The proclamation, entitled "Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public Safety Threats," followed months of legal wrestling as well as a comprehensive review of security protocols on entry to the U.S. by the Department of State and Department of Homeland Security.

Read the full proclamation online

In a 7-2 ruling, justices decided in favor of allowing all provisions of the order to take effect while several legal cases surrounding that order make its way through the courts.

The two justices in dissent were Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.

READ MORE: Supreme Court allows for travel ban while appeals are heard

Specifically, President Trump's action takes into account a massive report of nearly 200 countries evaluated for their "information-sharing practices, policies and capabilities of foreign governments" which would thus give the U.S. "improved capacity and ability to assess whether foreign nationals attempting to enter the United States pose a security or safety threat."

Among the nearly 200 countries evaluated, only seven countries were found to have "inadequate" protocols, and these are the only countries in which entry of their nationals are suspended, with conditions:

Chad: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas (i.e. business, tourist, and business-tourist) are suspended

Iran: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas are suspended, except under valid student or exchange visitor visa. According to the U.S. Department of State, 316 Iranian students are currently enrolled in North Carolina schools on student visas

Venezuela: Certain government officials and their family members are barred from obtaining an immigrant or non-immigrant visas. Other citizens are subject to increased vetting

Libya: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas are suspended

North Korea: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas are suspended

Somalia: All immigrant visas are suspended, but Somalian nationals are eligible for non-immigrant and student visas, pending enhanced screening

Syria: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas are suspended

Yemen: All immigrant and non-immigrant visas are suspended

In an important disclaimer, the Executive Order spells out several exemptions, including lawful permanent residents, those already in the U.S. on the effective date, those with valid visas on the effective date, dual citizens who are traveling on passports of a non-banned country, or those already granted asylum.

Also in the order, a clause permitting "case by case waivers" for close family members, adopted children, international conferences, and those who have visited the U.S. previously.

Significantly, the Executive Order is not time-based, so it's possible that countries could be removed from the list if said governments raise their security standards, while other countries can be added to the list upon a different evaluation.

Opponents of this and previous versions of the ban said the President's actions still show a bias against Muslims, pointing out earlier tweets from Trump that included what they called anti-Muslim videos.

"President Trump's anti-Muslim prejudice is no secret," said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project. "He has repeatedly confirmed it, including just last week on Twitter. It's unfortunate that the full ban can move forward for now, but this order does not address the merits of our claims."