Here we go again. The most recent immigration news from the D.C. beltway is that the Ninth Circuit Court’s ruling against Trump’s travel ban threw the President into a tweeting frenzy.
On June 12, the Ninth Circuit ruled unanimously against a request from the White House to lift the injunction and reinstate his travel ban. Most expected this move from the court, which had ruled against the travel ban executive order in May. The order was designed to stop immigration temporarily from a handful of predominantly Muslim countries.
What’s the next move for the Trump administration? As you might have guessed, it appears the travel ban is on its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
What’s Trump Up To Now: Trump Administration Petitions SCOTUS
On June 1, the Trump administration formally petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States to rule on the legality of his travel ban. The request asked the Court to lift the injunctions that blocked his immigration ban of citizens from six primarily Muslim countries. It also requested that the Court rule on the legalities of the ban.
Politico quotes the White House spokesperson as saying; "The President is not required to admit people from countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted and do not pose a security risk for the United States."
The case is expected to be on the docket this fall.
Just before the U.S. Supreme Court petition, the Trump administration faced another setback, as they continued to push for the ban by pressing lower courts to reinstate all or part of the ban. On May 23, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, refused to overturn the injunction halting the immigration ban.
But the administration is clearly not giving up, as they push toward the nation’s highest court. Here’s a timeline on the ban so far:
- January 27, 2017: President Trump issued an executive order that imposed a 90-day ban on immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. It also temporarily halted the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and indefinitely suspended immigration for Syrian refugees.
- January 28, 2017: A New York federal judge blocked part of the executive order.
- January 28, 2017: A federal judge in Massachusetts blocked part of the executive order.
- January 30, 2017: Democrats made a move to introduce a bill to overturn the executive order. Senate Republicans killed it.
- February 2, 2017: The Trump administration watered down the ban slightly, allowing green card holders reentry into the U.S.
- February 3, 2017: A U.S. District Court judge blocked the order, placing an injunction against enforcement. The ACLU noted that the courts were serving as checks and balances against enforcement of “the unconstitutional ban.”
- February 5, 2017: The U.S. government filed a petition to resume the ban.
- February 9, 2017: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied their request to lift the injunction.
- March 6, 2017: The Trump administration issued a new travel ban. This time it excluded Iraq from the list of blocked countries. It also specifically rescinded the first travel ban. However, USA Today reported that, while the new ban included some technical changes, the practical effect was the same as the original ban.
- March 7, 2017: The state of Hawaii filed a lawsuit against the ban and asked for an injunction to halt it.
- March 15, 2017: A U.S. District Court in Hawaii blocked the new travel ban. According to CNN, the President called it, “unprecedented judicial overreach.”
- March 16, 2017: A U.S. District Court in Maryland blocked the new immigration ban.
- May 23, 2017: The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused Trump’s request to overturn the injunction.
- June 1, 2017: The federal government petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the ban and make a ruling.
Immigration lawyers and their clients, along with the rest of the world, are waiting to see the Trump administration’s next move.
What's Next for the Travel Ban?
According to CNN, the Trump administration’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asked for the immediate overturn of the injunction blocking the ban. It also asked the court to rule permanently on the legality of the executive order.
It’s likely that the court will want to review the lower court rulings as part of this process, but it is unclear whether they will move to immediately lift the injunction while they are still reviewing the case. But Trump’s own Tweet-fueled rhetoric could hamper the case; CNN suggests that the administration has backpedaled from calling it a “travel ban,” instead calling it “the executive order” or a “temporary pause” in immigration.
It should be noted that the controversial travel ban clearly seemed to target Muslims. Trump frequently spoke during his campaign for the Presidency about "banning Muslims." He reinforced the belief that his executive order unfairly targeted people from one religion, when the New York Times quoted him as saying the United States would exempt Christians from the travel ban because they have suffered, "more so than others."
This could allow opponents of the ban the ability to argue religious animus in violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Both as a candidate and as elected official, President Trump’s own statements could lead the Supreme Court to rule against the ban, based on religious animus.
Interestingly, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the ban, it should be noted that it was a 90-day process that will have expired by the time they rule. This could mark the bill as legally moot, according to an assistant professor of law at the University of California.
CNN reports that the U.S. Supreme Court could rule on immediately lifting travel ban as early as June stating, “The travel ban has turned a sleepy term into a potential blockbuster.”
Katz Law Office, Ltd., is standing by to help you in these troubling times. Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our free consultation to discuss immigration to the United States.