November 14, 2017

Appeals court allows Trump's Muslim ban 3.0 to take partial effect

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals  Monday (Nov.13) allowed President Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban 3.0 to go partially into effect, exempting persons with 'bona fide relationships' to the US.

The Monday order means the ban will apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who do not have connections to the United States.

Those connections are defined as family relationships and “formal, documented” relationships with U.S.-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies. Those with family relationships that would allow entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overrode US District Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii, who blocked the ban on October 17 by declaring it violates immigration law by discriminating on the basis of nationality. 

President Trump issued an executive order on September 24 indefinitely restricting travel to the US for citizens from eight countries: Somalia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela and Chad.

Judge Watson ordered a block of the order on October 17. He was joined by US District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland, who sought to block the policy on grounds of Constitutional prohibitions against religious discrimination.

Chuang’s ruling still needs to be addressed by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Richmond, Virginia-based court has scheduled a full-bench hearing for December 8.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin said the court’s decision tracked what the Supreme Court said in June when it partially revived Trump’s second travel ban, which has now expired. “I‘m pleased that family ties to the U.S., including grandparents, will be respected,” Chin added.

Separately on Monday, a group of refugee organizations and individuals filed a lawsuit in Seattle federal court challenging Trump’s decision to suspend entry of refugees from 11 countries, nine of which are majority Muslim, for at least 90 days.

In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge had also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project.

The Muslim Ban 3.0

The September 24 executive order is the third travel ban to come out of the White House since January. Trump has justified the decision by citing security requirements and lack of proper information-sharing and vetting procedures in the countries affected.

The Trump administration had unveiled its third travel ban after US courts blocked the first two. This order bans citizens of North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela and Chad from travelling to the US. However, a court in Hawaii had blocked  the latest directive on October 18, just hours before it was set to go into full effect.

 Critics, however, pointed to Trump's campaign trail proposal to enact "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."

Several individual plaintiffs, refugee resettlement organizations, human rights groups and a number of states with Democratic attorneys-general have challenged the travel bans from the beginning, arguing that Trump’s campaign statement disqualifies him from barring Muslims from entering the US.

Muslim Ban 1.0

Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January  just a week after he took office. 

Trump’s first ban, issued Jan. 27, sought to bar those who would enter the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries, then including Iraq and Sudan, during a 90-day review of U.S. vetting procedures. Announced without prior warning, it caused chaos at U.S. airports and a torrent of lawsuits objecting to the sudden exclusion of people who had a right to be in the U.S.

After an appeals court blocked Trump from enforcing the ban, the president issued a revised order that dropped Iraq and provided additional reasons for halting entry from the remaining countries. That sparked additional suits, court orders and appellate reviews.

Trump's second travel ban, issued in March, was blocked by lower courts but partly implemented by the Supreme Court.

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Executive Editor: Abdus Sattar Ghazali


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